Early Career Researchers Forum


What is the Early Career Researcher Forum?

The ECR Forum provides support and training for researchers in the early stages of their careers - from PhD students and RAs to postdocs, teaching fellows, and first-position lecturers.

Every term we aim to host several academic and career workshops as well as social events to enrich both professional and social life in the department.  All our planned events can be found on the Events tab.

Website content

  • ECR Forum Events: Here you’ll find the ECR Forum’s regular and special events.
  • External events: Here you’ll find events not held by the ECR Forum.
  • Resources & Articles: This page has material resources as well as articles written for the ECR by its members past and present.
  • Useful links: This page contains handy links to University and Department pages as well as links to useful external pages.


The ECR has an email list to which we advertise all of our events and useful information.  To be added to the list please contact the ECR Forum Chair (see below).

If you would like more information, have ideas to about events to run or have some issues to raise then please get in touch.

We hold a general meeting once a year to organise the committee for the coming year and plan for major events.  Other meetings are held as necessary and are advertised using the email list.

Key contacts

  • ECR Forum Chair
    Bryony McKean (PhD student, bm901@york.ac.uk)
    Charlotte Ashton (PhD student, caa517@york.ac.uk).
  • Post-doc representatives
    Jonathan Flavell (Postdoctoral Research Associate, jonathan.flavell@york.ac.uk)
    Sam Berens (Postdoctoral Research Associate, sam.berens@york.ac.uk)
  • Faculty Liaison
    Elena Geangu (Lecturer, elena.geangu@york.ac.uk)
  • Font of all knowledge
    Andrea Woodward (Administrator, andrea.woodward@york.ac.uk)

ECR Forum Events

We’re always open to suggestions for events, however novel! Contact any member of the ECR Forum Committee with your ideas.

Coming Events


Regular events

Cake Club

Every Friday at 3 pm in the Staff Common Room (PS/A002)
Each week we meet for a relaxed chat with home-baked goodies.

Please contact Anika Smith (PhD student, anika.smith@york.ac.uk) if you’d like to volunteer for baking one week.

Meet the Speaker

At 3pm in the Staff Common Room (PS/A002) on the day of a Departmental Seminar by an external speaker

To accompany the Departmental Seminar Series organised by Professor Sven Mattys, the ECR Forum hold Meet the Speaker.  This is an informal session where we can meet and chat to external speakers who are visiting the department.  The purpose is to provide a friendly environment in which you can talk about work and careers with the speaker.  This is valuable event to learn about academic life around the world and to make useful contacts - at least two postdoc positions have come from these sessions!

Please contact Jonathan Flavell (Postdoctoral Research Associate, jonathan.flavell@york.ac.uk) for more information.

Secret Santa

Annually in November/December

Details circulated on the ECR Forum mailing list.

Past events

ECR Seminar - AI and Machine Learning

Wednesday 20th March, 2-3pm, PS/A202 (Venables room)


ECR Board/Card Game Night

Friday 28th February 2019 at 5:30pm in PS/B101

Some board and card games will be provided but please feel free to bring your own. Snack and drink available.

Organised and hosted by Amanda Hickey (PhD student, ajh650@york.ac.uk) and Joanna Buryn-Weitzel (PhD student, jcbw501@york.ac.uk).

Wine Tasting

Wednesday 6th February 2019 in the Ellis Suite (PS/C003) at 17.00-19.00

  • Blind tasting of three red wines and three white wines that typify particular varietals
  • Games and a quiz, with prizes!
  • Pairing wines with cheeses and chocolate (which will all be provided)

Please contact Charlotte Murphy (Postdoctoral Research Associate, charlotte.murphy@york.ac.uk) for more information.


Viva training event

Friday 1st February 2019 at 2pm in PS/B202


The event will include short talks from faculty, as well as post-docs who have recently defended their thesis here at York, with the aim to provide a friendly platform for you to ask questions about the viva procedure.

The event is primarily geared towards final year PhD students, but all are welcome.

Organised and hosted by Karla Evans (Lecturer, karla.evans@york.ac.uk)

Small steps to reproducibility

Tuesday 11th December 2018 at 4pm in PS/C003

“What is this “open science” thing?  Why should I care?  How can I make my research more rigorous and reproducible?  What will my PI think?  Come along to this short 1-hour introduction to what reproducible research looks like and why it’s worth bothering with.  Run by ECRs for ECRs, we’ll showcase some of the latest tools that help to enhance your research workflow and employability, relevant for careers both within and beyond academia.”

Organised and hosted by:

  • Emma James (Postdoctoral Research Associate, elj504@york.ac.uk)
  • Sam Berens (Postdoctoral Research Associate, sam.berens@york.ac.uk)
  • Hao-Ting Wang (Postdoctoral Research Associate, haoting.wang@york.ac.uk )
  • Francina Clayton (Postdoctoral Research Associate, francina.clayton@york.ac.uk)

Matlab and Psychtoolbox for experiment creation and analysis

Regularly on Thursday evenings from October to December 2018.

A short course introducing Matlab and Psychtoolbox.  Classes start for complete beginners and aim to slowly introduce skills so that, by the end of the course, you’ll have a good place to start coding your own experiments

Organised and hosted by:

  • Jonathan Flavell (Postdoctoral Research Associate, jonathan.flavell@york.ac.uk)

Winter Quiz 2018

28th November in PS/C003 at 5:15

A couple of hours of painfully tricky questions with your mates.  Prize for the best Christmas jumper.

Organised and hosted by:

  • Jonathan Flavell (Postdoctoral Research Associate, jonathan.flavell@york.ac.uk)
  • Alex Reid (Associate Lecturer, amr507@york.ac.uk)


External Events

Preparing for Fellowship Success Training Programme

(deadline Monday 11th February)

To develop the confidence, capability and desire to submit a Fellowship Application.  Further details and Application Forms (deadline Monday 11th February):


This is a 1.5 day retreat is for Postdocs and early career researchers who are committed to producing a draft Fellowship application.

All aspects of the Fellowship process will be covered and you will be fully supported by professional support staff, existing Fellowship holders and alumni.

You will have an opportunity to discuss ideas with staff experienced in writing successful applications, get insight into the peer review process, draft work and get feedback.

By the end of the retreat participants will have:

  • Identified which Fellowship scheme is right for them
  • Received feedback on and refined their research vision, overview and professional development statement.
  • Produced an action plan and timescale for further work endorsed by their Fellowship Buddy
  • Networked with existing Fellows and professional support staff who can assist with their application.

The programme is free.  Please contact karen.clegg@york.ac.uk

Graduate Student Association

If you’re a PhD student, the Graduate Student Association (yorkgsa.org) hold regular events where you can meet PhD students from other departments. New staff

Resources & Articles

ECR Forum Library

The ECR has a small library of useful textbooks for loan.  We have books on Matlab, R, event-related potentials and structural equation modelling.  You’re welcome to borrow the books - just sign them out on the accompanying sheet.  The library is currently looking for a new home so please get in touch if you’d like to borrow anything.

Get in touch if there are texts that you think we should acquire. We’re also open to donations of books.

Contact (Jonathan Flavell, postdoc, jonathan.flavell@york.ac.uk)


Writing, submitting and defending your thesis – and then what?

Slides from the Viva training event (February 2019). Tips on writing and submitting your theses, preparing for your viva, and life after your PhD (industry and academic directions). Also contains information on current Fellowships and Grants.

Y3 - writing, submitting and defending your thesis-18-19 (PDF , 2,425kb)

Written by Karla Evans (Lecturer, karla.evans@york.ac.uk).


Top Tips: Fellowship Funding

Candy Hassall's (Head of Research Affairs at the Wellcome Trust) slides from her 'Top Tips: Fellowship Funding' talk on the 26th March 2019. There is a lot of useful advice and common sense tips that its well worth paying attention to if you're thinking about applying for funding from the Wellcome Trust or other funders

Top tips: fellowship funding (PDF , 1,782kb)


Poster Design Thoughts by Mike Morrison (March 2019)

Mike Morrison (PhD student at Michigan State University) recently released video of a really interesting take on typical poster designs that worth thinking about.

Useful Links

Student & staff wiki (for course info and most forms)

Staff and student profiles

Campus maps and travel

University library & city library

IT & Technical Services

Human Resources