Postdocs in SEES

Here in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, we have a vibrant postdoc community with over 50 research staff working in different areas. This website aims to assist postdocs with career development and with day-to-day tasks around the University.

  • Researcher Development

    Graduate and Researcher Development team

    The faculty Graduate and Researcher Development team are dedicated to providing support to research staff (and post-graduates). They offer a full range of personal, professional and career development opportunities through the Researcher Development Programme. Their website is well worth a look, and provides details of development opportunities and upcoming events, as well as links to useful website and university services. It also has information on the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers and Vitae’s Researcher Development Framework (RDF). The team also send out regular emails to update us on upcoming events and new opportunities, so keep an eye out for this.

    Performance & Development Review (PDR)

    All University staff members are expected to undergo these once a year. It is an opportunity to reflect critically on your performance and identify any career development needs.

    Training courses

    The University’s Training and development website provides an overview, plus links to all training courses hosted by the various university services. This is also the place to go for health and safety training (such as risk assessment and laser safety).

    The Faculty Researcher Development Team hosts a number of skills training courses throughout the year for research staff associated with personal and career development, covering a wide range of topics including presentation tips, fellowship application support, and starting your own business. Their website’s skills training calendar lists the courses they run themselves, and their regular bulletin emails provide a summary of all new opportunities. Find a course you want to attend, and click the link on its description page to be directed to the training catalogue to register.

    IT Services provide training on basic PC skills (email, Microsoft Office), University systems (such as eProg), and research computing (including programming, high end computing and visualization).

    The library also provides workshops covering a range of topics including referencing skills, presentation skills, wellbeing, and more.

    Funding opportunities

    The main source of funding for research staff is through fellowship schemes, such as those offered by the Research Councils, Leverhulme Trust, Royal Society and many more. The organisations below provide information on these grants as well as other funding opportunities.

    • Research Professional provides funding opportunities in every discipline, and offers a funding opportunity email alert service.
    • UK Research Office is the UK's leading information and advice service on European Union funding for research and higher education.
    • EURAXESS UK provides a database of international funding schemes for travel to conferences, research visits, fellowships etc.
    • SEES Research Fund – A small fund (capped at a few hundred pounds) is available to post-doctoral researchers within the school to enable activities which promote new research initiatives that are not funded by any other route. This can include travel to support new research exchanges, instrument time, and even for consumables. Calls for applications generally go out around November time, and this can be a good way to take your research a little bit further while gaining experience in applying for funding.

    Career opportunities

    The University careers service is mainly for current and recent students of the university. For PhDs and research staff, they organise the annual Pathways event, which provides an insight into the breadth of career opportunities available. The event lasts a day and is structured as a series of Q&A panels with guests who have either completed their PhDs or moved on from university research posts in the last 10 years, or who have expertise in the job market for PhDs and researchers.
    The careers website also provide a website dedicated to supporting academic careers.
    Other sources of careers advice and opportunities include:

    Guide to contracts

    Information on all aspects of your employment at the University can be found in these pages. The faculty Graduate and Researcher Development team also provides some information specific to fixed-term contracts.

  • Day-to-day tasks

    A lot of information on day-to-day admin tasks can be found on staffnet, although information can be hard to find. We have tried to summarise information that should be useful for particularly for postdocs in SEES.

     

    Purchasing

    Stores

    Andy Thomas (x 50973) is the stores technician for Williamson Building. He can be found in Williamson building G7, and will accept deliveries of your orders. Andy has a supply of common stationery items and can also help you access common items found in the University central stores. To find out what is available:

    • Log into your ‘MyManchester’ account.
    • Type ‘EPS stores’ into the search box
    • Click on that and that will then provide a full catalogue (product, product code, price, quantity etc.) of what is provided within the University stores on campus.
    • If what you need is listed, just send an email to Andy including:
    1. Product
    2. Product code
    3. Price
    4. Quantity
    5. Charge code (normally starting AA or R)

    Ordering on iProc

    Firstly please note that this system can only be accessed from a computer on University campus internet. This can be achieved off campus using Cisco Systems VPN Client.

    If you will need to purchase items which are not available from central stores during the course of your postdoc, for example lab consumables, you should become a requisitioner on iProc. iProc is the University’s online procurement system which enables you to purchase items from companies which are registered suppliers to the university. To become a requisitioner you will need to register and complete an online training course. Details can be found here. You will be asked for an I&E code for each product you order which is basically a way of categorising the purchases. A complete list of I&E codes can be found here.

    Non-catalogue requests are often necessary. These are for items which do not appear on the list when you search in iProc but come from a registered supplier to the University. To find out if your supplier is already registered, type the first part of the name in the supplier name box followed by "%" to search.

    Once you complete an order on iProc, it will be sent to the budget holder for approval via email and usually Andy Thomas will accept the delivery and contact you about delivery to your office or lab.

    Importantly, if you work in Simon building, you must make sure that you request your items to be delivered to Williamson building so they can be signed for and accepted by Andy. There is no manned reception in Simon building to accept deliveries.

    Credit card ordering

    Occasionally, you might need to order something from a company which is not registered as a supplier to the University. In these instances you should use the school credit card. To do this you must fill out the credit card form in full, which can be found here, get the budget holders approval, plus an authorised signatory (currently Kevin Taylor, Jamie Gilmour, Steve Olivier or Thomas Choularton), and send the form either to Oliver Street or Penny Ralph, who can place the order for you. Further details here.

     

    Travel

    Egencia

    Egencia (part of Expedia Inc.) is the University’s chosen travel management system, which means that all travel and accommodation bookings, national and international, must be done through Egencia. Car hire is not done through Egencia and to do this you should contact seaes.egencia@manchester.ac.uk for the travel administrator for SEES. You can also get set up to do your own bookings etc. by contacting this email address. Some low-cost airlines, hotel and trains are non-refundable once the booking has been confirmed. You can also find user guides on how to use Egencia’s online system here.

    Travel Insurance

    Travel insurance is available to all staff travelling on University business. The policy can be found here, and it is recommended you print off the certificate to take with you on your trip. It is also a legal requirement that you have a risk assessment in place, so make sure you are up-to-date on this. For more information, contact the insurance office.

    Expenses

    Information on expenses can be found here. Expenses claims can be made by logging on to MyManchester and starting a claim under my expenses. They will be paid to your bank account and usually take around 1 month to be processed.

    Cash Passport Mastercard guidelines

    The Mastercard is issued to staff and students who are travelling away from the University, on business, where they will incur out of pocket expenses. If you are planning an extended work trip or one which will incur significant expenses you should use this route.

     

    Health and Safety

    COSHH

    The Control Of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (amended 2004) require that before you commence any work which involves the use of hazardous substances, the risk to the health of those exposed must be considered and appropriate safety precautions adopted. Therefore you are required to complete a COSHH risk assessment form before you start the work which must be approved by your line manager and the School COSHH advisor Dr Karen Theis. The draft version should be submitted to Karen for checking before signatures are obtained. Once you have received final approval you should print off the form and sign it as the assessor. Your line manager will then need to sign the form before getting the final signature from Karen. You can then photocopy the form, one copy must be filed with Karen, one copy must be placed in the lab where the work will be carried out and a final copy should be kept by you.

    Training

    Details of courses enabling safe working practice can be found on the online training catalogue and you should ask your lab manager if there are any additional training courses you should complete. Courses available include liquid nitrogen, laser safety, biological safety, working at height, display screen, radiation and manual handling.

     

    IT

    Software can be downloaded from the University’s Electronic software delivery system (EDS).

    Cisco Systems VPN Client can be installed on your laptop enabling access to University networks when you are off campus.

    The IT service desk handles all general IT enquiries and can be reached via their online system or by calling 0161 306 5544.

     

    Other information

    Printing / photocopying

    Simon building: photocopier on 3rd floor

    Williamson building: photocopier is in the mail room, 1.43

    Post

    Williamson building: There is a post room (1.43) where you should have a pigeon hole for incoming mail. In Simon Building, the pigeon holes are on the 3rd floor.

    For outgoing internal (University) mail, give this to one of the porters at the porter’s lodge by the Williamson building main entrance. To post larger items by DHL, contact Cristina (Williamson building) or Penny Ralph (Simon building).

    Kitchen facilities

    Williamson: There is a tearoom and kitchen facilities in room 1.53.

    Simon: The tearoom is outside lab 1.05, and has a sink, fridge, microwave, kettle and coffee machine.

  • Activities and Hobbies

    Why not enrich your postdoc experience by getting involved with some activites that are happening around the school and the University?

    Activities

    5-a-side football

    There is a mixed friendly 5-a-side group who play on Wednesday afternoons at 4pm on outdoor pitches at Denmark Rd near the University. If you are interested please contact Andy Thomas.

    Cycling

    If you cycle to work or would like some information or advice on getting started, the University of Manchester Bicycle Users Group UMBUG offers lots of advice and organises events including meetups on campus with free breakfast for cycle commuters. You can even join a meet-up in your local area for a group commute.

    The University also supports the national cycle to work scheme allowing you to purchase a tax-free bike to promote sustainable travel and health and fitness.

    Running

    This is a group for staff and students at The University of Manchester who run to work (or would like to), which also involves free breakfast. Search facebook for UMRUN.

    Fitness classes

    The University has a varied program of health and fitness classes running throughout the year in the Wellbeing rooms in Simon building.

     

    If you are involved in other activities around Uni that might be of interest to other postdocs, please let us know.

     

    Research Staff Association

    The RSA organise events and socials and offer a lot of information on their website.

  • If you have any questions or concerns, please get in touch with your postdoc reps. We are:

    Laura Newsome:

    I'm currently working on a postdoc in the Geomicrobiology group and am based in Williamson Building.  I've been in the department since 2011 which was when I started my PhD, and before this I worked in industry.  I'm interested in understanding the factors that affect the fate and transport of contaminants and metals in the environment.  My research explores microbial interactions with metals and radionuclides, such as how we can stimulate natural microbial processes in the subsurface to remediate contaminated groundwater, or how we can bioprocess metal ores to synthesise useful products.  Outside of work I'm a keen cyclist and a fan of real ale and Burnley Football Club.

    laura.newsome@manchester.ac.uk

     

    Danna Gifford:

    I'm a postdoc studying microbial evolution, and am situated in the Michael Smith Building.  I joined the University of Manchester in January 2016--then in the Faculty of Life Sciences--and moved to SEES following the reorganization in August 2016.  Originally from Canada, I moved to the UK in 2010 to do my PhD.  I'm interested in how bacteria adapt over antibiotic fitness landscapes while coping with population demographic pressures (such as small population size).  When not in the lab, I like to be outdoors (horse riding or cycling) or indoors (playing the trombone badly).

    danna.gifford@manchester.ac.uk

     

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