Montreal’s new postdoctoral research network
Postdoctoral fellows came together from universities and research centres across the city to present their work at the 1st Annual Montreal Postdoctoral Research Day on April 15.
As Paula Wood-Adams, Concordia’s dean of Graduate Studies, explained, events like this strengthen the postdoctoral community.
“Part of networking is building a support group and building a community of people with whom you can discuss things, whether it's your research or other issues,” she said.
The event took place at McGill University. In a packed room, participating postdocs were offered five minutes to present what was often years of research, followed by three minutes to answer questions from the audience.
Concordia postdoctoral researchers Kelly Boudreau and Thorsten Busch showcased their work on governance and best practices concerning hate speech and aggressive behaviour in multi-player online games.
Both said the event was important in establishing connections among postdocs, who often share many of the same experiences.
“It's almost like a support network or a community of people,” Boudreau said. “Even if you're researching completely different topics, you're all kind of going through the same life stage.”
Busch added that postdoctoral research is not as misunderstood as it once was, and that support is growing.
“It's just the normal next stage when you're done with your PhD, whereas 20 years ago it was kind of frowned upon in the sense that people were perceived to be doing a postdoc only if they could not find a real job,” he said. “That's totally changed.”
Several speakers also addressed the tenuous position of postdoctoral researchers in academia. Though no longer students, they are not permanent faculty.
Wood-Adams noted that at Concordia, postdoctoral fellows now have a seat on the Council of the School of Graduate Studies, a fact that speaks to the university’s dedication to supporting these researchers.
“This is definitely an important community for us to nurture,” she said.
Learn more about postdoctoral research at Concordia.