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News & Press: Events

Elsevier and the NPA Present Awards for National Postdoc Appreciation Week

Friday, November 8, 2019  
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November 8, 2019

The National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) is pleased to announce the recipients of 2019 Elsevier National Postdoc Appreciation Week (NPAW) Awards. The recipients are:

Best New Event (specifically for those who are participating in NPAW for the FIRST time)

  • iNet NYC, mental health in academia: open forum to discuss mental health issues (such as depression and anxiety) that are commonly faced by postdocs in academia. Anonymous submissions were also accepted to be discussed during the event. Focus on international postdocs.
  • University of Manchester, postdocs assemble: mini-symposium featuring inspirational and motivational speakers from across the university. Topics included shared experiences and lessons learned (including the perspective of a woman of color and parents), survival strategies, how postdocs shape the lives of PhDs, and comedy stand-up reflecting the skills postdocs develop and how they are rewarded for those skills.

Best Postdoctoral Association (PDA)-Led Event (judged against all of the event submissions for the award year)

  • University of Illinois at Chicago, career development symposium: this event is specifically catered to helping individuals in the STEM fields discover and network into a wide range of PhD career paths. The event included a keynote address, a lunch with informal networking, career track panel discussions (medical communications, industry off the bench, and legal and compliance), and a networking coffee break.
  • University of Minnesota, research day - research slam and career resource fair: the PDA planned a research day consisting of research slam and career resource fair for NPAW. A team of volunteer postdocs invited university postdocs to submit short lay abstracts on their research. Using a blinded judging process, eight postdocs were selected to present a five-minute TED Talk style presentation on their work. The audience voted for their favorite talk using an online poll. Awards were given for first, second, and third (a two-way tie) best talks. After the research slam, the PDA hosted a career resource fair where campus offices and groups and community organizations hosted tables. Included were those who are committed to improving the postdoc experience. Local companies donated raffle prizes for attendees and catered refreshments were provided.

Most Collaborative Event (for those who host events with multiple groups/offices from a single campus or different campuses)

  • University of California, San Francisco (internal/multiple campuses, Office of Postdoctoral Scholars), postdoc slam 2019: a competition in which postdocs were challenged to present their research, no matter how complicated, to an educated, non-specialist audience in under three minutes with a grand prize of $3000. This year topics ranged from cancer to the immune system to the potential for performing surgery in space. The competition was held at two locations and connected via livestream.
  • University of Pittsburgh (interdepartmental, University of Pittsburgh PDA), postdoc annual retreat: annual retreat which provided opportunities to meet University leaders, learn about resources to support academic and non-academic needs, discover organizations dedicated to helping postdocs get involved on and off-campus, and meet other postdocs.

Most Creative Event (for PDAs only, with minimal input from the postdoc office)

  • Drexel University, mentors in motion: The mentors in motion program is designed to empower networking and mentoring between postdoctoral fellows, faculty members and alumni while engaging in healthy physical activity. A sedentary lifestyle leads to an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, obesity and diabetes. Walking can reverse the consequences of this lifestyle, increase energy and motivation, and improve the health and well-being. Engaging in mentoring and networking activities increases camaraderie (mutual trust and friendship) and shares important information about a trainee’s career thoughts.
  • University of Colorado, resource scavenger hunt: The goal of this event (and greater theme) was to build a stronger postdoc community. Postdocs were grouped into teams and sent on a scavenger hunt for different resources that were useful to them on campus. Tasks included retrieving signatures from people at departmental organizations (ex. career development office, postdoc departmental rep), while others required them get on our associations website to find answers to questions, nominate each other for awards etc.

Each event submission was blinded and judged, and the event with the most points won the award. In addition to meeting the criteria outlined for each category, awards were required to submit promotional materials and attendance verification.

The tenth annual celebration of NPAW took place September 16 – 20, 2019. During this week-long celebration, organizations across the nation planned events across the country to create awareness of postdocs. The nation’s largest celebration of postdocs, NPAW was established with the goal of acknowledging the significant contributions that postdoctoral scholars (“postdocs”) make to U.S. research and discovery.

NPAW is coordinated by the NPA Outreach Committee, which works to promote the mission, values, goals, and business objectives of the NPA. Chanelle Case Borden, Ph.D., and Dolonchapa Chakraborty, Ph.D., serve as leaders of the Outreach Committee. For more information about NPAW and to view events across the nation, visit this page.

Elsevier’s mission is to help institutions and professionals advance healthcare, open science and improve performance for the benefit of humanity. The NPA strives to improve the postdoctoral experience by supporting enhanced research training and a culture of enhanced professional growth to benefit scholarship and innovation.