Materials Postdocs Association

The Materials Postdoc Association (MPA) was formed in 2020 with the aim of collaborating with the department to enhance the professional development, communication, and sense of community among postdoctoral researchers in the Department of Materials.

We are here for you; feel free to reach out and even consider joining us!

Please join our Teams Channel, twitter and LinkedIn to get access to all the latest news, events, jobs, and even some gossip

The easiest way to connect is to email a committee member below or join us for the free weekly coffee in the Holder Cafe at 9 am on Wednesdays. 



Upcoming Events 

An Introduction to Fellowships for Early Career Researchers

28 February 2024

10.00-11.00 am

HR Lecture Theatre


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Past Events


Wednesday coffee morning sponsored by MERCK! 31st Jan 2024

Materials postdocs! 

Join us for pastries, croissants and doughnuts next Wednesday - 31st of Jan - 9.00am in Holder Cafe!

Merck Technical Manager for Materials Science, Adelina Braun and Marzieh Zamani, account manager for the University of Oxford, would be very happy to discuss how they can support your research, particularly relating to Battery, solar cells and 3D bioprinting.

'' We would like to show/discuss with you some innovative materials developed from our R&D scientists, namely high-performance silicon anode materials for high capacity and extended life cycle of the battery. As well as the fast charge/discharge Li-ion battery electrode materials developed from our R&D scientists utilizing redox polymers, that a more sustainable, as they do not contain frequently utilized toxic metals like cobalt and nickel found in lithium-ion batteries, so suitable for green batteries manufacturing.''

Merck | United Kingdom | Life Science Products & Service Solutions (


The poster for the event which includes the date, time, venue and the call to 'Represent your group, showcase your work and get trained and network'

Registration deadline: Thursday 14 September St Edmunds Hall

All PDRAs in the department are invited to the MPA Away Day taking place on 28 September at St Edmunds Hall.  The day begins at 9:30am and concludes with a conference dinner at 7pm.

The agenda includes:

   a research group introductory talk (who we are and what we do);

   Skills Development Training (by Placi Espejo (TEDx speaker) and Justin Hutchence (MPLS Researcher and Development Manager);

   Career path talks (Postdoc to academia and industry);

   An academic panel; and 

   a poster competition (with a prize and a drinks reception).

Complete the online form (below) to register before 14 September.

Online Registration Form

MPA Lunchtime Tuesday Seminar, 12.30pm: Tuesday, 4th July (include free lunch)

Speaker: Dr Justin Hutchence (Researcher Training and Development Manager, Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences Division);

Venue: Wolfson meeting room, Holder Building;

Title: What can I gain from a Career Development Review (CDR)?

Abstract:The purpose of the CDR is to;

(a) clarify job expectations and how these fit into team/project objectives

(b) to provide feedback on performance of the previous year

(c) to identify any training or development needs or opportunities.

Here, we will explore the benefits of the review, from how to prepare for one to applying the results and putting it into the context of a wider look at researcher careers.


MPA Lunchtime Tuesday Seminar, 11am: Tuesday, 6 June (include free lunch)

Speaker: Rachel Scanlon (Physical and Applied Sciences Subject Librarian, Bodleian Libraries);
Venue: 21 Banbury Road Conference Room;
Title: What can the Bodleian Libraries do for you?

Some people seem to live at the library, but others haven't visited in years - and that's OK.  There's a lot more to the services the Bodleian Libraries offer than a physical collection of books.  
I'll be going through some of the services we offer including our iSkills Programme.  These librarian-led training sessions cover how to use reference managers, search skills for scientific databases, interpret metrics and altmetrics, and more.
I'll also explain some of the tools the library provides, such as ORA, Oxford's open access repository, and the Research Data Management Service (which is useful for funding applications).  I'll also highlight some bibliographic databases useful to Materials Science - with plenty of time left over for a Q&A.


Fellowships talk: Dr Joanna Robert and Prof Nicole Grobert

6th March Seminar 11am Banbury Road Lecture Theatre

Information on upcoming external funded fellowships for the year and how to apply in the department, plus tips for writing. *Fellowships take a long time, so it is never too early to learn about the process*


MPA Committee Election (application deadline 28th Feb 2023)

Apply now to be part of MPAC for the following year, this is a great opportunity to improve your CV and the Department. 

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 affect research staff. The Chairperson reports once per term to the Department of Materials Academic Committee. 

There are a number of roles each that can be used to display different skills or experience for your CV: 

  • Chair,
  • Secretary, 
  • Treasurer,
  • Events Officer(s), 
  • Safety Committee representative, 
  • EDI Committee representative,
  • IT Committee representative and  Website Designer
  • Building representatives,
  • Career Development Lead,
  • Fellowship & Grant specialist.

If you want to apply for any of these positions or would like more information, please email (

If more than one person applies for a post, we will invite the applicants to write a couple of sentences on why they want the role and run an open poll for 2 weeks on the teams channel. 

University of Oxford Innovation: Dr Chandra Ramanujan and Dr Jack Howley

28th February Lunchtime seminar 1pm Banbury Road Conference Room, lunch from 12:30pm

A talk about creating impact for your research beyond publications. This is key for funding/fellowship applications, generating intellectual property, or looking to spin-out a company. Additional information and personal experience will also be provided by Dr Howley about moving between academia, industry and back (it is not a one-way path). 

Departmental Postdoc Conference and dinner

19th of September 2022 at St Edmund Hall Unfortunately due to the Queen Elizabeth II funeral this event was postponed to 21st of December 2022

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!

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).  

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. 

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.


  • Barbara Maciejewska - Chair & MPLS Representative
  • Felix Mocany - Secretary
  • Shiling Dong - Treasurer
  • Anastasia Soeriyadi - Departmental Safety Officer
  • Andrey Poletayev - Social Media Representative
  • Ed Darnbrough - Career Development lead
  • Weixin Song - Fellowship Program Lead


  • 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 SharePoint. 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