First PDRA Away Day held in Liverpool

Published on

QUASAR Hao Zhang presenting his talk at the PDRA Away Day. Image credit: Maksymilian Roman

Postdoctoral Research Associates and Research Fellows across all research clusters in the Department of Physics were invited to join the first Half Away Day on 21st September.

This event was conceived, shaped, and organised exclusively for and by the PDRAs and Research Fellows. Several QUASARs attended the event. Its aims were functional and social. Firstly, attendees discussed day-to-day considerations such as Professional Services, the work of the various research clusters, and the career paths open to the attendees. Secondly, the organisers aimed to foster a community of PDRAs and Research Fellows within the department, as it has been noticed that such researchers can often feel isolated from the department outside of their research group.

Representatives from each research cluster presented the work of their group, and guests at various career stages shortly after that of a PDRA discussed their journey. There was great interest in the presentation from Liverpool alumnus Will Turner of UNDO, a company focused on carbon capture. This highlighted the appetite that exists in the department for scientific seminars on topics outside of our main areas of focus.

There were flash presentations by new starters, who introduced themselves and their research. An icebreaker game followed, where attendees had the opportunity to learn interesting facts about their peers. For instance did you know that a PDRA in Physics visited Chernobyl for their PhD, or that another composes music from LHC data? Attendees also had the opportunity to vote on a bonus presentation, with ‘outreach’ being a clear winner.

QUASAR Milaan Patel during his presentation at the PDRA Away Day. Image credit: Maksymilian Roman

The Half Away Day was the first of its kind and a great success. Around 30 PDRAs and Research Fellows attended and engaged with the talks. Overall, it received incredibly positive feedback, and highlighted the need for more events where PDRAs and Research Fellows from all the research clusters can meet, discuss relevant matters and share concerns such as provision of IT equipment and obstacles to deliver teaching. Current plans to take advantage of the momentum created and continue developing a community include organising informal meet ups. 

If you are interested in getting involved with the organisation of informal events, please contact Alex Hill and Maks Roman (

The Half Away Day was fully supported by the Department of Physics and School of Physical Sciences.