On September 24, 2009, the Belfer Institute for Advanced Biomedical Studies held a special reception in the Glass Café for Einstein's postdocs. The event marked National Postdoc Appreciation Day, an event initiated this year by the National Postdoctoral Association that will be celebrated annually.
At institutions worldwide, postdocs represent the engines that help drive research. No longer graduate students but not yet independent researchers, postdocs make sure that the day-to-day activities of the laboratory are carried out toward achieving the lab's mission. At Einstein, 349 postdocs from 44 different nations take on this critical role.
"Postdocs are the backbone of research," said Dr. Jonathan Backer, director of the Belfer Institute. "We should appreciate them everyday, but it's nice to have a special day each year when we can informally recognize our gratitude for their contributions in the labs."
"National Postdoc Appreciation Day offers a way to connect with postdocs all over the U.S., and Canada and Australia," said Devrim Pesen-Okur, newly elected chair of the Einstein Postdoctoral Association (EPA) — an organization established by the postdocs to foster a sense of community by drawing from their shared experiences to present their needs and points of view to Einstein administration. "Events like this reaffirm the dedication that Einstein has toward the welfare of its postdocs. Many of us, who are typically ï¿½hidden' in the lab, came out to take part. Hopefully, this day will give us national recognition as well as at the institutional level."
"National Postdoc Appreciation Day highlights the importance of postdocs to quality research and community at Einstein," noted Laura Norwood, a former EPA representative. "It's nice being appreciated."
She added, "The last several years have seen a large improvement in the quality of life of postdocs at the College of Medicine and, with the Dennis Shields Postdoctoral Research Prizes, postdocs at Einstein are feeling more appreciated and content than ever."
The awards offer another forum through which Einstein appreciates its postdocs. Each year, the Belfer Institute holds the special awards ceremony, established by Dr. Allan Wolkoff (the previous director of the Institute) as an avenue for recognizing exemplary research published by Einstein postdocs. This year, the awards ceremony will be renamed the Dennis Shields Postdoctoral Research Prizes in memory of the Institute's first director, who passed away last December. It will be held on Tuesday, November 17, at 2 p.m., in Robbins Auditorium. It will be preceded at 1 p.m. by a lunch and poster session.
The critical role that postdocs play in research was also detailed in the spring 2007 issue of Einstein magazine, which paid tribute to postdocs in an article, "Postdocs: The Indispensible Engines of Scientific Inquiry."
Einstein postdocs and their supporters celebrate the first National Postdoc Appreciation Day
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Posted on: Friday, October 23, 2009