Networking for Success Masterclass 

Following the success of our recent Masterclass by Sue Tonks on 11 January 2018, you can now read the feedback.  We plan to holder a further session later this year.

Feedback report

Working in Industry Masterclass 

Following the successful Masterclass Working in Industry: How not to get lost on the dark side held on 8 February 2018, you can now download the talks from the session.

Tom Keeley

Robert Kallmeier

Congratulations to Dr Mryiam Chimen

Congratulations to our ex post-doc rep Myriam Chimen who has been awarded a 5-year Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Research Fellowship to investigate the glucocorticoid regulation of a novel pathway controlling T-cell trafficking in chronic inflammatory diseases and ageing. She also received an enhancement award by the Royal Society to support this work. This project fits with her long-term research objective to understand how immune regulatory pathways change with age and chronic inflammation.

Myriam will remain involved in PERCAT on the academic committee as she is keen on supporting early career researchers in developing their careers.

Career Enrichment, Development and Strategy Day

We have received some excellent feedback from this event on Wednesday.  The day started with Kate Crane’s Icebreaker session - Building Bridges.  This gave everyone the chance to meet their fellow colleagues informally and show their team building skills in design and construction!  All groups built some very “interesting” bridges but it was team “Research Links” who ticked all the boxes and came away with the prize.   Following this we had very inspiring talks from Pete Noy, John Reynolds, Shamil Haroon and Dave Withers.  Sheena Griffiths also gave a very informative presentation on equality and diversity.  We had a very interesting discussion on Masterclasses and will follow up suggestions/ideas.  Kate also delivered a presentation on the difference between coaching and mentoring and the benefits you can gain from either a coach or mentor.  Please contact Lesley if you wish to have further details on this.

Feedback report 


The last session of the day included the Postdoctoral Excellence Awards.  Professor Bicknell presented awards to the following:

Teaching and Mentoring
Nikolaos Batis (Cancer and Genomic Sciences) and Andrew Holmes (Cardiovascular Sciences)

Academic Citizenship 
Grace Turner (Applied Health Research)

Public Engagement
Leah Fitzsimmons (Cancer and Genomic Sciences)

Congratulations to all our prize winners who have each won £200.

The day concluded with a BBQ in Park Gardens, Lucas House. 

Congratulations to our Postdoc rep - Dr Louisa Jeffery

We would like to congratulation Dr Louisa Jeffery, our Postdoc rep from Immunology and Immunotherapy who has been elected to serve on the University Senate Board.  Louisa is very pleased to have the opportunity to be part of the highest level of university decision-making.  With greater understanding of how university strategies are agreed, she hopes she wil be better able to advise the researcher support committees which she is part of so that we most effectively raise the needs of the early career resesearchers before the management and thereby attain greater support.  If there are areas where you would like to receive greater support, please do not hesitate to contact Louisa direct or via your institute's PERCAT representative.

FelicityCongratulations to our former Postdoc rep - Dr Felicity de Cogan

Dr  Felicity De Cogan (Institute of Microbiology and Infection)has been awarded a £20,000 investment from the University for her NitroPep technology, a surface modification which can kill bacteria on contact.  The award was made at the Enterprising Birmingham Final Showcase, where Felicity’s entry won the Most Innovative Idea. 

Felicity’s highly innovative technology was tested in a clinical environment where it was proven to prevent the spread of bacteria and initial market research has indicated it could significantly reduce the levels of hospital acquired infection such as MRSA, which currently costs the NHS over £1 billion per annum. 

Enterprising Birmingham is a biennial competition which celebrates the culture of innovation at the University.  It is run by the Enterprise & Innovation team.  

Congratulations to our Postdoc rep - Dr Valentina Di Pietro

ValentinaThe success of a five year study into potential biomarkers indicative of traumatic brain injury has led Valentina Di Pietro, a Molecular Neuroscientist, to be awarded a BRIDGE fellowship to undertake TBI research in collaboration with the University of Illinois, USA.  The fellowship allows Valentina to combine neuroimaging techniques available in the USA with the results of the five year microRNA study.

Valentina offers the following advice to Postdocs/Early Career Researchers based on her experience:

  • Curve out your research niche (Valentina has worked in the field of traumatic brain injury for 10 years, she was able to identify the field of her research discovering the microRNA signature in TBI patients)
  • Be outstanding and persistent with your research (she has been working on this project for 5 long years!) 
  • Have a vision of the translational potential of your research and engage with translational processes e.g. commercialisation, microRNA signatures in TBI patients has been used to file a patent application and to build a spin-off company, recently awarded an innovation grant of £885,000 by SBRI with the aim of developing a point of care testing device.


Handling non-academic problems in the academic environment - 8 February 2017
Presentation by Professor Kate Thomas [pdf]
Presentation by Philippa Hawkins [pdf]
Feedback Report [pdf]

Equality Scheme 2016-2020

The University's new Equality Scheme 2016–2020, ‘Advancing Equality, Valuing Diversity’is now available.
The Equality Scheme sets out the equality objectives for the next four years in relation to the themes of inclusion, attainment, flexibility and embedding equality in all that we do in order to create an environment in which all members of our community can flourish and reach their full potential.

Women in Academic Medicine and Science (WAMS)

The Women in Academic Medicine and Science (WAMS) committee was formed to address the under-representatiion of females in academic medicine.  Our aim is to support and nurture the careers of female academics in the College of Medical and Dental Sciences.

Is it possible to combine academic life with family life? This has been a key question many early career researchers have asked themselves before embarking on their chosen career. Our academics explain how they achieve this, with the help and support of the Athena SWAN Initiative, in this video.

The Athena SWAN (Scientific Women’s Academic Network) charter was established in June 2005, and encourages the advancement of female academics in UK Higher Educational institutions.