Ep30: What's a Postdoc? - Joy Warde

As a postdoc it's easier to get caught up in it all. Image credit: Stuart Higgins

As a postdoc it's easier to get caught up in it all. Image credit: Stuart Higgins

Postdocs power the research programmes of universities around the world. However for postdocs the reality of being a scientist is years of jumping from contract to contract, trying to secure increasingly rare academic positions.

All the academic staff employed by the university would have to die or retire and even then only about 50% of the postdocs would be employed
— Dr Joy Warde

What does it mean to be a postdoc? This episode features an interview with Dr Joy Warde, Postdoc Staff Coordinator at the University of Cambridge. A former PhD and postdoc herself, Joy now works closely with many of the university's 3,500 postdoc staff members, supporting their needs.

We explore what the needs of postdocs are - in particular the challenge of continually looking for the next job - and the reality of trying to find a permanent position in academia.

Joy has also won awards for her science engagement work - and we talk about the path that led her from a PhD studying jet turbine fan blades, to a post-doc investigating solder joints, via teaching, public engagement and starting a family, finally to her current role.