The first Postdoctoral Research Day ever held at UCD was on May 14, 2010. The idea bubbled up during a Postdoctoral Advisory Committee meeting and came to fruition through the efforts of the first planning committee made up of PAC and PDA Exec Council members. The idea was to create a venue, and fill an umet need on campus to provide the nearly 300 postdocs on the two campuses and National Jewish, a day to learn and to share, to foster “community”, and create a real reason to get out of the lab and meet with peers. With 76 poster entries, the information on grant submissions presented by the NIH Training Officer and Director of the Scientific Programs at OER, and the inspiration offered by Tom Cech on “How to Win a Nobel Prize”, the day was proclaimed on all counts a huge success!
Since the costs of the first eventful day were supported entirely by funds raised by the postdoc leadership and some PAC faculty, the second year was under question, as to whether it could be done again so soon. But done again it was! Fund-raising was again begun and the program deliberated for year two. Another well-received “PDRD” was held March 31, 2011. Supporting bio-company reps were on hand to interact throughout the poster sessions. Academia vs industry career paths were covered by the keynote speakers, with a workshop on writing for first-tier journals from an editor at Nature Medicine to round out the day.
Due to the success of previous years, PDRD is now an annual event!
A nice compliment to the obvious results of such a day was included in the 2011 reception comments of SOM’s Dean Krugman when he said “[he’d] like to be around for the TENTH annual!” The necessary involvement of some 50 faculty in judging posters is a contributing factor to individual career development of those participating. One of the favorite observations of the Postdoc Office Coordinator from the two event days held is watching the animated conversations between postdocs and faculty, or groups of postdocs, many of whom had never met each other until that day. The excitement of their shared enthusiasm for their science was palpable!
UCD’s Postdoctoral Research Day is coming to be viewed just as it was meant to be, a day for postdoc research to be showcased, a day exclusive to postdoctoral fellows engaged in research to get out of the lab and meet one another, to collaborate with those in related endeavors, and, perchance, to make life-long friends.