About the Boston Postdoc Association
The Boston Postdoctoral Association (BPDA) is a 16-member consortium of Boston-area academic postdoctoral associations and industry postdoctoral scholars representing approximately 9,000 postdoctoral scholars. The BPDA was established in 2012 to support the professional development and advocacy needs of these early career researchers and to aid in the retention of highly trained STEM researchers in the fields of life sciences, engineering, mathematics, physics and data science.
Our members include the postdoctoral associations of Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston University, Brandeis University, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the Broad Institute, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University, Joslin Diabetes Center, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Massachusetts General Hospital, MIT, Tufts University, and the Whitehead Institute and postdoctoral scholars from the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research.
Since January 2016, the BPDA has hosted monthly career development, social, and advocacy events. In the last year, we have attracted over 2,000 attendees to workshops, seminars, career panels, and other professional development events. The large number of academic research institutions as well as pharma, biotech, and high-tech companies in the Boston area provides a unique opportunity for cutting-edge multidisciplinary research and career advancement.
Our 2016-2017 goals
To facilitate collaboration between postdoctoral associations from different institutions across the Boston area.
To provide programming on training and career development for Boston area postdocs.
To provide social and professional networking opportunities.
To identify common issues affecting postdocs in the Boston area.
Our 2016-2017 Accomplishments
We organized and executed over 20 individual events in 2016-2017 across the three different committees: career development, social and advocacy with 2,000 registrants and approximately 1,000 attendees.
Poster presentations and the NPA
Postdocs from across Boston represented the BPDA at the annual NPA meeting with 2 posters: a cross-institutional comparison of benefits for postdoctoral fellows highlighting the best benefits across Boston, and a poster discussing the BPDA as a novel model for postdoctoral trainee-led professional development activities.
Symposia and large scale events
Our first postdoctoral symposium, B-SoCCS, was held at the Broad Institute and was very successful with over 300 attendees and over 100 speakers and networking guests.
We are also hosting our first multi-week course hosted at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute focused on training for careers in patent law and technology transfer.
Poster presentations and the NPA
The National Postdoctoral Association meeting is an opportunity for postdocs and postdoctoral officers to meet, networking and exchange ideas. This year’s meeting was held in San Francisco, CA in March 2017. The BPDA presented two posters on the efforts of the BPDA advocacy committee’s benefits spreadsheet (http://bostonpostdocs.org/advocacy/benefits/) and on the BPDA as whole. Additionally, two collaborations resulted from this meeting allowing Boston area postdocs to gain additional training opportunities.
Symposia and large scale events
The Boston Postdoctoral Association
Symposium on Careers and Collaboration in Science (BSOCCS)
Brief description: On June 16-17 2017, the Boston Postdoctoral Association hosted our first annual career symposium at the Broad Institute in Cambridge, focused on strategies to nurture academia-industry collaborations.
This symposium was a unique platform for young investigators to establish new relationships and gain new perspectives. We hoped to facilitate increased collaboration between researchers in academia and industry and to provide practical tools necessary to enhance the professional development of early career researchers.
Speakers included Dr. Jay Bradner, President of Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, Dr. Phil Sharp, MIT Institute Professor and Nobel Laureate and Dr. Dan Jay, Professor, Tufts University plus nearly 50 other panelists and workshop leads. For more information, please visit our symposium website at http://www.bsoccs2017.org/
Duration: 1.5 days
Format: Mixed. Scientific talks and posters, workshops, panels and networking
BPDA mini-course: Fundamentals of patent law course
Brief description: Understanding the patent process can be very beneficial for postdocs as they are often the actual innovators in the labs. Attendees will gain an understanding of Patent Law terminology, the rules of patentability, how to conduct a patent search, different components involved in writing a patent application, an overview of the patent prosecution process
Duration: 10 weeks
Format: Lecture based with discussion
Class size: 41 with participants from MIT, Children’s, MGH, HMS, Broad Institute, Tufts, Dana-Farber, HSPH and Joslin
BPDA Sponsored Events (August 2016- September 2017)
9/21/17 Finding Funding: Locating fellowships and research grants as a postdoc
9/20/17 BPDA Careers Networking Pub Night at Lansdowne Pub
9/19/17 Basic Financial Management with Harvard University Employees Credit Union
9/18/17BPDA Careers Career Fair at the Broad Institute
8/18/17 - 10/6/17 BPDA "Fundamentals of Patent Law" course
8/3/17 American Chemical Society Career Development Workshop @ Harvard University
8/2/17 BPDA Careers Networking Pub Night @ Meadhall
7/27/17 NIH Loan Repayment Program Seminar @ HMS
7/27/17 NIH Loan Repayment Program Seminar @ MIT
6/16-6/17/17 B-SoCCS Symposium
5/10/17 BPDA Careers Networking Pub Night @ Lansdowne Pub
4/18/17 The BPDA presents: Science Pint Night with the Cambridge Science Festival
4/14/17 The BPDA presents: Sci-Art Exhibition @ LabCentral with the Cambridge Science Festival
4/5/17 Engineering Career Panel and Speed Networking @ Broad Institute
3/2/17 BPDA Careers Networking Pub Night @ Meadhall
3/10/17 Trivia night at Aeronaut Brewing Company - Friday March 10th
2/15/17 Data Science, Informatics and Computer Science Career Panel @ MIT
1/29/17 Ice Skating at Community Ice Skating @ Kendall with the BPDA
1/18/17 BPDA Careers Networking Pub Night at Lansdowne Pub
12/6/16 BPDA Careers Career Fair at the Broad Institute
12/2/16 BPDA Trivia Night
11/16/16 BPDA Careers Networking Pub Night @ Meadhall
10/19/16 BPDA Careers R&D Career Panel and Speed Networking Event @ Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research
9/25/16 Quiz bowl at Aeronaut Brewing
9/21/16 BPDA Careers Secrets from a Recruiter: An Insiders Guide to Getting Your Dream Job
9/7/16 BPDA Careers Networking Pub Night @ Lansdowne Pub
6/26/16 BPDA Careers Networking Pub Night @ Asgard
6/1/16 BPDA Careers Academic Career Panel and Speed Networking
4/27/16 BPDA Careers Networking Pub Night @ Rattlesnake
Committee specific data
Number of events (August 2016-August 2017): 2
Posters presented: 2* (NPDA 2017, *1 co-presented with CD committee)
Documents and white papers prepared: 3
Career Development Committee
Number of events (August 2016-August 2017): 22
Posters presented: 1 (NPA 2017)
Documents and white papers prepared: 0
Number of registrants: 2,312
Career Development - Symposium Subcommittee (BSOCCS)
Number of events (Summer 2017): 1
Number of postdoctoral attendees: 300
Number of industry attendees: 50
Number of panelists and speakers: 50
Total posters presented: 77
Total trainee talks: 4
Number of events (August 2016-August 2017): 8* (* 3 co-organized with CD committee)
Number of Attendees: 339
Scientific Reproducibility Symposium
Motivated by the ongoing challenges in data reproducibility in both STEM and the Social Sciences, this half day symposium will bring together leaders from the fields of statistics, antibody validation, publishing and experimental methodology to discuss and find solutions for issues facing many postdoctoral scholars. Tentatively scheduled for Winter 2018.
BPDA Symposium on Careers and Collaboration in Science 2018
Follow the success of BSOCCS 2017, we plan to hold our second annual career development symposium in June 2018. Plans include additional workshops on building transferable skills, increased networking opportunities and the inclusion of additional members of the postdoctoral community including industry postdoctoral scholars, postdocs from the physical sciences and thanks to funding for travel grants postdocs from outside Boston as well.
Entrepreneurship (Expected Winter 2018)
The BPDA Entrepreneurship Course is a 5-week course which will introduce postdoctoral researchers to fundamental concepts of entrepreneurship. It will provide information on resources and avenues available to researchers to start their own life science venture. This course will also provide networking opportunities with a diverse range of professionals in life science entrepreneurship.
Drug Development (Expected Spring 2018)
This course will provide an introductory understanding of the drug development process including early stage discovery research (target identification and validation, HTS/HCS and hit to lead optimization, pre-clinical models, ADME, and PKDM, IND filing, FIH studies and clinical study design. This interactive case-based course will be five 2-hour sessions led by experienced industry researchers with time for group discussion and project based learning.