Unit Training and Careers Development Event 2020

Unit Training and Careers Development Event 2020

Photo of audience at the MRC BNDU’s Training and Careers Development Event, January 2020.

The Unit held its annual Training & Careers Development Event on Friday 17th January. Unit members, together with colleagues from the University of Oxford and Medical Research Council, were treated to a range of engaging and enlightening presentations, each of which was followed by a lively Q & A session.

Polly Kerr, NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre PPI Manager, started the Event with an insightful seminar on the benefits, challenges and approaches of Patient and Public Involvement with research. This was followed by a session focused on supporting diversity in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). After Unit Group Leader Professor Charlotte Stagg gave a thought-provoking introductory talk, Unit Group Leader Dr Hayriye Cagnan and husband Dr Eugene Duff (Department of Paediatrics) discussed their experiences of shared parental leave, answering a host of questions from the enthusiastic audience. Professor Fiona Powrie, Director of the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology at the University of Oxford, then concluded the session with an entertaining account of her career journey in research, peppered with some sound advice on making the most of opportunities, on taking risks, and on how to achieve diversity at senior levels of academia.

In the first of two break-out workshops held after refreshments, Simon Cain, Director of Westbourne Training & Consulting, delivered some well-received training on ‘Pitching Skills’. Using real-life pitches from two of the Unit’s early-career researchers, the workshop explored all aspects of designing and delivering a great pitch, with special emphasis on interviewing for funding and fellowships. In the second workshop, Professor Stuart Mackenzie, Head of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry at the University of Oxford, led an interactive discussion of the Technician Commitment, its value for career development, and the University’s initiatives and plans to support it.

Peter Magill, outgoing Chair of the Unit’s Training & Career Development Committee, commented “The provision of bespoke training and career support remains a key priority for the Unit. These annual events have proven to be an excellent way to achieve impact and help deliver on the Unit’s strategy in these areas. We are most grateful to our expert speakers, and we look forward to meeting the challenges ahead.”