Building a support network
The NPA also offers assistance and advice on how to form postdoctoral associations and postdoctoral offices at various institutions. Associations are generally run by postdocs, and offices are generally run by academic faculty directors or nonfaculty directors or coordinators. Yet the aim of both is the same: to improve the postdoctoral experience.
PDAs often welcome volunteers who wish to capitalize on related networking opportunities.
If you are a postdoc and are unsure if your institution has either an association or an office, check with your graduate program leadership or your institution’s human resources office. If there is no PDA on campus, combine forces with other dedicated and enthusiastic people and start one. Lots of PDAs across America have started as grassroots efforts.
Offices also have been opened by institutions that have strong associations, which lobby the administration and communicate how important postdoctoral training and support are.
Even if your institution’s association has limited funds or none at all, it is still possible to organize a postdoc appreciation week event. For example, you can coordinate something as simple as a coffee hour in a local café or a happy hour at a bar or restaurant at which everyone purchases his or her own food and beverages. If your city or region is home to multiple research institutions, consider pooling resources and having one large event.