Close to 80 postdoctoral research fellows attended the inaugural Postdoctoral Research Fellows’ Engagement session on Thursday 24 May. During the event, they gained insight on strategies to utilise during their postdoctoral fellowship in order to improve their career prospects in both academia and industry.
This was the first of several sessions to follow throughout the year hosted by the strategic initiatives and administration unit in collaboration with postgraduate school. The core purpose of this session was to support the professional development of postdoctoral research fellows to ensure successful career advancement opportunities. These sessions provide an opportunity for postdoctoral research fellows to make cross-disciplinary networks and gain necessary knowledge to further their research expertise.
The theme for the session was career planning and professional development. Professor Saurabh Sinha, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Internationalisation (UJ), opened the session and shared his experience as a supervisor for postdoctoral research fellows. He also discussed how multidisciplinary areas of research brings about engagement in various ways, the different avenues of impact, and aspects of vertical integration in terms of co-supervision and building research teams internally within the university and externally. The panel discussants were Dr Banothile Makhubela, Senior Lecturer (UJ) and Independent Non-Executive Director at Eskom, Professor Mzukisi Qobo, Deputy Director, NRF Chair in African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy and Prof Nyasha Mboti, Associate Professor and Head of Department of Communication Studies.
All three speakers provided insight of their own personal experiences as postdoctoral research fellows. During the session, the following key points were discussed:
- Ways of planning one’s career
- Aspects to incorporate in the process of planning one’s career
- Ways to improve organization skills and stay focus
- Networking and collaboration
- Types of internal and external programs to take advantage of
- The value of a postdoctoral fellowship and how to fully utilize it
- Advice on publishing
The next engagement session on research project management will take place on 22 June 2018.