Materials Postdocs Association


The Materials Postdoc Association (MPA) has recently been formed in order to work with the department to promote the professional development, communication and sense of community of postdoctoral researchers in the Department of Materials.

We are here for you to talk to us or even join us! 

Please join the Teams Channel to get access to all the latest news, events, jobs (and gossip)

Easiest is to email a committee member below or join us for the weekly coffee in the Holder Cafe 10:30am Wednesdays 

Next Event 

Online: Working as a Researcher in the US 8th Nov 4pm on Zoom

If you are a postdoc or graduate-level student at Oxford interested in learning more about U.S. immigration and employment options please join the online meeting by following the link in the teams channel. 


Future Careers for Postdocs: MPA lunchtime seminar (with lunch)

22 November 2022 13:00 - 14:00 21 Banbury Road, Committee Room (see the teams channel to join virtually)

In this talk Dr Rebecca Ehata will explain where to look and how to get a job beyond academia. She will help you to understand what recruiters are looking for and how best to sell yourself by making the most of what you already do on a daily basis as a researcher. She will also go through all the services available to you as a postdoc (now and up to a year after you have left).  

Lunch will be sandwiches available from 12:30pm in the kitchenet by the meeting room 

Departmental Postdoc Conference and dinner

19th of September 2022 at St Edmund Hall Unfortunately due to the Queen Elizabeth II funeral this event has been postponed

Here we will bring together postdocs from the whole fragmented department, putting people from the 13 separate locations in one space to learn from one another. 

This should be a great experience for all to learn more about our department, drive collaboration and enjoy the college environment (read food). 

We will also have a talk from the newly appointed head of department, who will outline the future of Materials and how postdocs are pivotal to our success.  

As part of the day we will also have a talk on "Storytelling for Materials Scientists" to help you to tell creative and compelling stories about your work to make you more memorable, understandable and engaging!


MPA Committee

If you would like to join the committee and get involved in this gathering momentum to help yourself and others; get in touch by email contact Ed Darnborugh (, talk to us at an event or at weekly coffee. We would be happy for anyone who is motivated but there are also some open posts: 

Events Coordinator - Come on board to organize reoccurring or a one off/annual event. Show your organizational skills expand beyond the edge of your desk getting facilities, suppliers, and attendees together to pull off successful events.  

Website Designer/Online Presence Czar - Think our site is boring and out of date? Come and make it better and show why you have an expert grasp on how groups and academics can make the most of the internet. 

Career development Officer - Work with HR and MPLS to make sure that everyone in the department knows what is available to them. Illustrate an interest in research culture and improving others as well as yourself. 

Fellowship & Grant specialist - Be the go-to person for information on relevant fellowships and grants available to people working in Materials. Help others by passing on what you've learnt applying for different pots of money showing you understand how money works in academia. 

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Past Events

Make your own journey, write your own story with Dr Ricardo Carreira

June 7th 1pm HR Lecture Room


Throughout our professional life we often find ourselves at crossroads, feeling uncertain of which path to choose, insecure about our skills and competences, afraid of making a decision that may negatively impact our career. Here Dr Ricardo Carreira, the director of Oxford-based biotech company Proteomics Immunocore, Dr Ricardo Carreira, the director of Oxford-based biotech company Proteomics Immunocore,  will reflect on his own experience in both academia and industry; the skills that he believes are valued by both worlds, and opportunities for career development. There is no right or wrong, good or bad. You just need to find something that makes you happy and brings you fulfilment. You don’t need to walk on someone else’s shoes. You write your own story.

Fellowship and Job Application Writing Club

May 17th 1pm Banbury Road Conference Room

We will come together to share past experiences (reviewer comments on fellowship applications), resources to help you write and look to build a collaborative community of individuals to help us all get better and win that job/fellowship you are striving for. This will be a great opportunity to put writing your application at the top of your to do list and make actionable progress. 

Feel free to bring a One-pager along to get informal feedback on the scope and direction of your idea. [One-pager : this is a single side of A4 outlining the project you want to do, why you are the perfect person to do it, and why you want to do it at your chosen institution. This will be needed for HOD to sign-off on any fellowship submission.]

MPA Career Development Seminar - How to view your career and analyze your training needs

5th April 1pm Banbury Road Committee Meeting room 

Dr Justin Hutchence will talk to us about how to reflect on your goals, your current situation and how to bridge the gap between them. Justin is the MPLS Researcher Training and Development Manager who has 16 years of experience in Universities helping people turn PhDs and Postdocs into careers.

Navigating pathways to becoming a PI with Prof. Sebastian Bonilla

1st March 1pm Banbury Road Committee Meeting room 

Come and join us for a seminar from our very own Associate Prof. Sebastian Bonilla. He will discuss his pathway through academia to becoming a principal investigator at Oxford and share some valuable experiences.


MPA Career Development Seminar - working in the USA 

recording for those who missed it is in the teams channel here

If you are a postdoc or graduate-level student at Oxford interested in learning more about U.S. immigration and employment options, please join the Materials Postdoc Association for an informational webinar led by American-based Dunn Law Firm, LLP. Topics during the one-hour event include applications for U.S. permanent residence ('green cards'), self-petitioning National Interest Waivers for researchers and entrepreneurs, and transitioning from F-1 OPT or J-1 to H-1B status. Jim Arkell, a long-time U.S. immigration attorney and former F-1 student, will deliver the presentation and take questions afterward.

Dr Joanna Roberts - The trials and tribulations of getting a Fellowship at Oxford

Hume Rothery Lecture Theater 13:00 Tuesday 15th February 

Dr Roberts is the Department's Research Finance Manager and is the gate keeper for fellowship applications being supported by the department.

An Introduction to Fellowships for Early Career Researchers - 28 February 2020

Gaining a research fellowship is a major step on the academic career ladder. This talk and subsequent discussion will help you to understand the dos and don’ts of fellowship applications, guiding you through the process and explaining the support that is available within and outside of the department. The session will be led by Prof. Chris Grovenor and Dr Jo Roberts. Amongst them, they have a wealth of knowledge about the application and review process for fellowship applications; Jo is a finance administrator managing grants and all individual fellowship applications within the department, whilst Chris has been heavily involved in submitting and supporting, as well as reviewing grant and fellowship applications. After Jo and Chris have shared some of their experiences, the floor will be open for questions. All researchers are invited to attend this event, which will be held in the Hume-Rothery lecture theatre at 1600 on Friday 28th February 2020.

The Committee (MPAC)

The Committee acts to consult with the postdoctoral researchers of the Department, and to advise the Faculty, Head of Department and Director of Studies of any issues that effect research staff. The Chairperson reports once per term to the Department of Materials Academic Committee.



  • Chairperson by election from within the Committee 
  • Chairperson of MPAC to present minutes at DMAC meetings once a term.

Interested in giving a lunchtime seminar or sponsoring an event? 

We are open to hosting speakers from those who's interests in career and professional development align with ours. Recent examples being talks from Dunn Law Firm, LLP on the rules around immigration and working in the USA as a scientific researcher. 

If you wish to sponsor an event there are plenty of opportunities to either support a pre-organised event or work with MPAC to create a stand-alone event. As with all sponsorship within the University of Oxford this has to conform with some guidelines.  

To start a conversation about getting involved please email the MPAC Chair (

Minutes of Committee Meetings

Minutes of the more recent meetings of MPAC are available on WebLearn. They are published here after being confirmed by the Committee as a true record.

These minutes are only accessible to members of the Department of Materials

weblearn Minutes from MPAC