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National Postdoc Conference 2021 Special #2: New realities

In this National Postdoc Conference special podcast we chat with Dr Sadaf Ashraf, Dr Gael Morrow, Dr Clara Barker and Dr Anjali Shah on the New Realities Researchers face, a key theme of the National Postdoc Conference hosted by the University of Liverpool taking place in Sept 2021.

Dr Michael Robinson (co-host) is a Leverhulme Trust funded Early Career Researcher at the University of Liverpool working on the project: Disability, Welfare and Ageing: First World War Veterans of the British Empire. Prior to this, Michael completed his PhD at the University's School of History, Languages and Cultures in 2016 working on Shell-Shocked First World War veterans who returned to Ireland. This was published as a monograph as part of Manchester University Press Disability History series in March 2020 which was entitled: Shell-Shocked British Army Veterans in Ireland, 1918-39: A Difficult Homecoming.

Dr Clara Barker ( is a thin film Material Scientist who manages the Centre for Applied Superconductivity at Oxford. Clara is the chair of the LGBT+ advisory group at Oxford University, Dean for equality and diversity at Linacre College and in 2018 she won the first diversity role model award from the University. She is also a member of the both the Royal Society and the Girls School Alliance E&D committees. In her spare time, she runs a youth group for LGBTI+ people, with a support group for their parents. She is the recipient of the Points of Light Award from the UK Prime Minister in 2018, has written for various publications, delivered many talks on LGBTI+ issues and diversity in academia, including a TEDx talk in 2018, and was highlighted in Nature in early 2021.

Dr Sadaf Ashaf graduated with a BSc Honours degree in Physiology and a postgraduate MSc degree in Immunology from Kings College London. She obtained her PhD in Rheumatology from University of Nottingham and moved to Aberdeen in 2018 to be part of the Arthritis and Regenerative Medicine team within the Aberdeen Centre for Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Health (ACAMH) Pain associated with arthritis is the leading cause of disability worldwide and poorly treated with existing drugs. Her research focuses on enhancing our understanding of the disease process and improving its treatment. Being a mid-career researcher and an aspiring academic she is actively involved in teaching undergraduate and postgraduate students. She is a member of the Nvision committee - University of Aberdeen postdoctoral society, working to improve the experience of postdoctoral scientists by providing them with a platform that they can engage with for career planning, training and progression. She is also the co-lead of the IDEALL group and a Race Equality Champion within the School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition, aiming to promote and create a collaborative, diverse and inclusive working environment for all staff and students.

Dr Anjali Shah is Co-Chair of the UK Research Staff Association (UKRSA) and is the UKRSA’s representative on the Concordat Strategy Group. She is passionate about improving research culture and encouraging members of under-represented groups to become successful researchers. She has worked at the University of Oxford for over a decade as an epidemiologist/biostatistician, and recently has completed three years as a part-time Researcher Developer. Anjali’s research is currently focused on assessing the reorganisation of major trauma centres on the outcomes following open fractures and reducing the occurrence of second fractures. Her previous research has been on treatment of shoulder dislocations and hip fractures, trends in childhood leukaemia and brain tumours, reviews of maternal health incidents, and producing National Statistics on adult cancer survival.

Dr Gael Morrow is a post-doctoral researcher based at University of Aberdeen and Oxford. Her research interests focus on acquired and inherited bleeding; and how clot structure alters the rate of degradation.

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Further reading

Access the reading list for this podcast.

Music and FX

This podcast uses sounds from freesound: and music from Purple Planet: