Johnston Postdoctoral Fund

In February 2016, the Institute redeployed one of its historical endowments to establish ‘The Johnston Postdoctoral Fund’ to support postdoctoral staff career development. Focused on aiding their transition from researcher to academic or alternative career paths outside of academia.

The fund has two rounds each year, with applicants eligible to apply for up to £4000. Each application is considered anonymously with reviewers scoring under three criteria (i) the justification of the project; (ii) the training and the career development opportunities; and (iii) the career stage of the applicant.

History

The University of Liverpool Johnston Chair was the first Chair of Biochemistry in the UK, and along with the Johnston Laboratories for Medical Research was established in 1902 from a donation of £25,000 from William Johnston, a Liverpool shipping magnate who founded the Johnston Line in Liverpool in 1872 with his brother Edmund. These laboratories were also the early home of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. The donation was related to the tragic death of one of his daughters, Ethel, in childbirth, and his subsequent wish to endow the University to develop a department of biochemistry (then an emerging branch of science) for the benefit of advancing modern medical research. 

Passionate ideas

Researcher Linda D’Amore, who was awarded funding in the first round to study a course in Synthetic Biology in America, said:

“Johnston funding has provided my career with a boost in a fresh direction. I would encourage all IIB post-docs considering their next career moves to apply - it's very clear from the range of funded projects that the panel values interesting, passionate ideas, and has an open mind to projects outside (or alongside) the traditional academic path.

I am surprised, delighted and incredibly grateful to the panel and the IIB for enabling a project that would not have happened otherwise. I hope to get the opportunity to assist future Johnston applicants in any way that I can.”

The Institute’s fund has inspired other Schools in the University to develop similar schemes, with the School of Physical Sciences launching its own Post-doctoral Development Award in October 2016.

Members of IIB’s Athena Swan SAT (Self-Assessment Team) also presented the benefits of the fund at a special interest session delivered at the Vitae Researcher Conference in September 2016.

Johnston Fund awards - November 2017

Career Development Fund: Post Docs reap the benefits - February 2018