Postdoctoral researchers to be made Cambridge alumni

Former postdoctoral researchers will now be counted as alumni at the University of Cambridge

June 9, 2015

Early career researchers that have worked at the institution will now be offered the same benefits as other alumni, including access to its global network of alumni groups.

Cambridge has introduced the measures as part of a series of initiatives to boost the profile of postdoctoral researchers, who form the largest group of staff at the university.

In 2013, Cambridge appointed a head of postdoctoral affairs to help give the often overlooked group a stronger identity at the university. It has since introduced a series of measures to better support the 3,500 or so postdoctoral researchers at Cambridge, including getting them represented on university committees, emailing communications directly to them and setting up mentoring schemes.

In May last year, Cambridge opened a new centre for postdoctoral researchers in a bid to improve the experience for postdocs and it is expected that the North West Cambridge development will offer them dedicated accommodation and amenities.

As part of the new scheme, former postdoctoral researchers will be offered a CAMCard, which gives them membership to the University Centre and a series of discounts, and also means that they receive a monthly alumni e-newsletter. It will be rolled out to recent leavers during the summer.

Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, the vice-chancellor, said: “The university and the colleges recognise the enormous contribution postdoctoral researchers make through their research, which is central to the mission of the university, so it is right they be extended a similar range of benefits to those available to our alumni.

“This reflects our continued mission to ensure that the thousands of researchers who work at the university each year are offered help before they arrive at Cambridge, during their working life here and after they leave,” he said.

The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs will gather data on former postdoctoral researchers so they can be included in the scheme. Its head, Karina Prasad, said that because postdoctoral researchers do not graduate, most universities have overlooked the issue of alumni benefits for them.

“Many postdocs end up in positions of influence in academia, industry or public service making them invaluable ambassadors and advocates for the university. The vice-chancellor and the Alumni Advisory Board felt that the university should extend alumni benefits to former postdocs so this move is very significant and welcome,” she added.

holly.else@tesglobal.com

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Reader's comments (1)

During the last academic year, Churchill College (Cambridge) introduced a scheme of Postdoctoral By-Fellowships to extend dining rights and certain other limited privileges to selected postdoctoral researchers in various fields throughout the University. Although the number of postdoctoral researchers who can be appointed as By-Fellows under the scheme is tiny in comparison with the overall number of such researchers in Cambridge at any given time, the creation of the By-Fellowships is one important step toward fully integrating the postdoctoral community into the broader collegiate community of Cambridge.

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