The first (of three) workshops of the PERKA initiative was held at the NRF South Africa from 3-4 April 2019.
The first workshop was the first opportunity for the representatives of the different Carnegie-supported fellowship programmes to meet and share their respective experiences. Specifically, the purpose of the meeting was for the project directors to share their postdoc models (and expected outcomes) and experiences for peer-learning. Selected outside participants (including the NRF) were also invited to share their good practice models for postdoctoral fellowships/early-career academic projects. In addition to raising awareness about the range of potential models among participants, the meeting allowed for the PERKA team to collect detailed descriptions of the postdoctoral models currently being implemented to inform the research component of the project.
In parallel to the discussion around fellowship models, the PERKA team held a series of focus group sessions with invited postdoctoral fellows from the Carnegie-supported programmes. The purpose of these focus groups was for the PERKA project leaders to learn first-hand about the different fellowship models from the participants themselves, while also providing networking opportunities for the postdocs. Building on this networking objective, the postdocs were given the opportunity to share and discuss their current research and benefitted from a session on ‘Building a Successful Academic Career’.