Early Career Forum

What we do

What we do

Upcoming Events

To be announced...

The Early Career Forum (ECF) supports early career researchers (postdoctoral research staff and research fellows). We provide opportunities to listen and talk to interesting speakers from academia & industry, run open forums on topics such as funding schemes and grant applications, and generally act as a representative of the interests of early career researchers at the department. For more details see our Mission statement

Upcoming events

To be announced...

Past events


PhD Comics in York

Dr Jorge Cham - creator of PhD comics - and Prof Daniel Whiteson - U. C. Irvine and researcher at CERN - were here in York to talk about their book "We have no Idea" on 7th of June! From procrastination and robots all the way down to strange quarks and dark matter & energy, they have explained in detail about how much we don't know. After their talk we had a nice time with some booksigning and photo session.

Meet the speaker - Dr Ralph Mennicke

Head of Technology and Chief Executive Officer of Proceq, Ralph has told our audience in May 22 about his first steps in industry - going through a PhD in York - and how his career has taken some interesting twists. He brought one of the most profitable devices Proceq sells, the Schmidt rebound hammer, and showed us how it is intrinsically linked to industry 4.0 via cloud computing and smartphone apps.

null10 amazing posters and discussions!‌Poster Social at Physics

Around 10 Postdocs and PhD students gathered for this tiny conference, which was very nice and informal. We had a contest for the best poster and an Amazon gift card was awarded to Jose Juan Colas by Thomas Krauss, Roland Kroeger and Rex Godby. Many thanks for everybody that took part on that event!


nullThe panel and audience.

Panel Discussion - The Path to Lectureship

We had a very pleasant discussion with Lecturers at the department about what brought them to where they are today and what advice they have for academically inclined Ph.D. students and Postdocs. Alessandro Pastore, Christian Diget, Laurence Wilson, Keith McKenna, and Erik Wagenaars have shared their reasons to become academics, as well as provided some tips for those who seek these positions. Sarah Thompson, our HoD was the chair this 60 minutes session.

The feedback for this event was amazing! More than 90% of the audience said that it was excellent, and more than 80% thought that the format was simply perfect! We appreciate the feedback and we are looking forward to have more events like this. Some take home messages:

"It's hard work and luck, but the more you apply, the luckier you become."

"Just get used to (a lot) of rejection, it's normal and highly expected."

"Never give up (!!) and have a backup plan too."

Meet the Speaker - David Pfau

David Pfau is on a mission to create artificial general intelligence at Google DeepMind. His talk took place on Friday, 24th of March. After that, David shared some of his experience working in projects at Google, and told us the differences between the company's working environment and academia.


Meet the Speaker - Rob Eason from Southampton Uni. after his talk on how to make lasers using lasersTalking about lasers and careers.

Meet the Speaker - Rob Eason

After his talk on Friday, March 17th 2017, about how to use lasers to make lasers, Rob Eason, from University of Southampton, has shared some of his experience with us. In an informal and funny conversation, we learned about his passion for lasers since school, as well as how many things changed in HE since his PhD time at York.



nullPizza and nice chats!

Social with Computer Science

At our kickoff event, we asked which departments we should consider for hosting joint events in the future. Computer Science was voted top of the list, so we organised a social with the Computer Science department on February 23rd.‌



null‌Kitkat is a $1bn business

Speakers from Industry - Hugh Powell

On Thursday, January 26th 2017, we invited Hugh Powell from Néstle's Science department to tell us about this job and to subject himself to intense questioning. As it turns out, KitKat wafers (=glassy starch foam) are fabricated to 0.1mm tolerance in thickness and plusminus 1% in moisture content. We also talked about: Laser cleaning, the transition from academia to industry and where Néstle employs physicists.


nullChatting away with Martin...

Meet the Speaker - Martin Hendry

Martin Hendry is Professor of Gravitational Astrophysics at the University of Glasgow, where he is currently head of the School of Physics and Astronomy. He is a member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration which, along with Virgo, reported the detection of gravitational waves in 2016. We met him before his inspiring talk on January 18th, 2017 and had a chat about his career path, advice for young scientists and more.


Open Forum - Teaching

The department's teaching efforts not only impact ranking tables, but also massively contribute to the department's income. The incoming HoD Kieran Gibson would love to see a greater involvement by ECRs, boosting the quality of teaching and the department's reputation.

We met with Kieran on December 2nd, 2016, who introduced the current pilot scheme and outlined his vision for its implementation starting next term.

If you are an early career researcher and would like to get involved in teaching, please fill out the Google-form

null‌Mulled wine <> nice crowd!

ECF Kickoff Event

On November 25th, 2016, the Early Career Forum kicked itself into life. We met to discuss

  • news regarding a compensation scheme for teaching by ECRs
  • career-related events, outside ivory tower of academia
  • our meet-the-speaker sessions
  • and much more to come in 2017

Plus sweet, mulled and fermented grape juice with mince pies and biscuits (for you)!

Mission statement

Mission statement

 The Early Career Forum (ECF) supports early career researchers (postdoctoral research staff and research fellows). We provide opportunities to listen and talk to interesting speakers from academia & industry, run open forums on topics such as funding schemes and grant applications, and generally act as a representative of the interests of early career researchers at the department.  


Career development

Many research staff wish to pursue an academic career; however, most of us end up working in industry. Some will take industry posts at the end of a PhD, whilst others will have several years of postdoctoral research experience. To address the diverse nature of this issue we aim to:

  1. Provide networking events with industry and opportunities to identify relevant transferable skills
  2. Promote access to independent advice from senior academic colleagues, helping research staff build collaborations, and identifying career paths

Visibility in the department

Several positions on department committees exist for the representation of research staff. These positions are an important opportunity for research staff to influence department policy and gain valuable experience. The researcher society will promote and support these positions. The aim is to:

  1. Facilitate and organise the integration of research staff within the department, through the promotion of relevant committee positions to the research staff community.
  2. Support the staff that hold committee positions by canvasing opinion from the research staff community that can feed into relevant department policies.


The nature of research staff contracts often necessitates short term positions and frequent movement between institutions. It is also recognised that informal social activities provide excellent opportunities to network with individuals outside your immediate research areas. The research society will organise and support suitable social activities that:

  1. Support and welcome new research staff.
  2. Foster a coherent and vibrant research community in the department.
  3. Provide networking opportunities with other research staff, academic staff and industry partners.

Getting involved

Getting Involved

Our events are open to all early career researchers and free of charge (unless otherwise indicated) - so just come along!

If you'd like to be informed about upcoming events, please ask the assistant of the HoD to sign you up to the phys-rf-group@york.ac.uk mailing list. Of course, you are also welcome to contact us directly.

The committee

The committee currently consists of Adam Wollman (treasurer), Claudio Padilha (public relations officer), and Balati Kuerbanjiang (secretary). We meet about every two weeks to discuss and organise upcoming events. Feel free to attend any of our meetings, no strings attached!

Many of our former members have already left the department. Christian (chair), Leopold (public relations) and Andy (secretary) unfortunately are not part of the ECF anymore, so we (desperately) need new people or the ECF will cease to exist! It is much less time-consuming than most people think, and you end up learning a lot, such as how to organize events and deal with advertisement and a budget! Please drop Claudio a line, if you are interested and would like to come along to our next committee meeting! 

Meeting minutes

Feel free to check out what we are currently working on.

2017-05-08 meeting minutes

2017-04-17 meeting minutes

2017-03-14 meeting minutes

2017-02-16 meeting minutes

2017-01-23 meeting minutes

2017-01-13 meeting minutes

2016-12-09 meeting minutes

2016-11-17 meeting minutes

2016-11-03 meeting minutes

2016-10-27 meeting minutes