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Postdoc Academy


Karina Prasad

Head of Academy


Oversees the strategic and operational direction of the Postdoc Academy.

Karina leads the Postdoc Academy in its mission to enhance the physical and intellectual experience of postdocs and ensure the University meets or exceeds its obligations to this community.

She has spent over 20 years in the Charity and Higher Education sectors in the USA and UK. Previously, Karina established and led the Clinical Academic Training Office in the School of Clinical Medicine.

Karina is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Art, a By-Fellow at Churchill College, and holds positions on numerous University committees. She engages with national and international organisations related to early career researchers, to enhance support for the next generation of research leaders.

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Susie Chan

Assistant Head of Academy - Operations


Oversees the HR and operational aspects of the Postdoc Academy and its three centres.

Susie manages the operational teams within the Postdoc Academy, including Finance, Communications and administration of the office, centres and projects. She specialises in enhancing the customer/user experience, improving business processes, and implementing improvements to the work-life balance of staff and the new community at Eddington.

Since joining the University in 2000, Susie has worked in a number of roles in the Finance Division and Judge Business School. She currently sits on the NWC Stakeholders Group and serves as a non-executive director for two University subsidiaries.

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Kristen Frers

Fellowship Project Manager

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Responsible for the design and delivery of fellowship schemes within the Postdoc Academy.

Principally, the Borysiewicz Interdisciplinary Fellowship programme which provides training, development opportunities and independent time for cohorts of fellows.

Kristen worked previously as a Research Coordinator in the School of the Humanities and Social Sciences, coordinating internal funding streams and a social sciences research programme, before joining the Postdoc Academy in 2015. 

She holds a PhD in History from the University of Cambridge.

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Jenny Hayward

Communications Manager


Responsible for designing and managing the Postdoc Academy's communications, including the website, newsletters, social media channels, and digital media production. Jenny also provides specialist communications strategy and support for the Academy's projects.

She has been part of the Postdoc Academy since 2016, previously working in numerous communications teams around the University, including Research Communications, Social Media and Film, and podcast production.

Jenny also delivers communications workshops for postdoc groups, and is currently consulting on a research project with the Open University to create gender equality in martial arts.

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Hollie Godden

Committees & Societies Coordinator

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Responsible for coordinating University and College postdoc-led groups, and supporting Postdoc Academy committees, working groups and initiatives.

Hollie coordinates day-to-day management of postdoc-led groups which can include secretarial duties, event and meeting organising, overseeing financial matters, and managing postdoc group projects and funding calls. She supports the Research Culture Working Group and has managed projects within the Postdoc Academy. She also sits on some group and University committees.

Hollie joined the University in 2014, in a role which included supporting researchers. She then moved into the Unified Administration Services, joining the Academy in 2018. She is currently working towards obtaining an Associate Project Manager qualification.

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Stephanie Tolhurst

Project Coordinator

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Responsible for the coordination and administration of Postdoc Academy projects and programmes.

Stephanie coordinates and administrates a range of programmes which include, leadership fellowships, mentoring and researcher development activities, as well as organising information sessions for postdocs. General tasks include preparing project plans, monitoring and reporting on these plans, supporting events, workshops and conferences and updating the postdoc calendar. 

She has over 15 years’ experience working in higher and further education as a project coordinator and apprenticeship assessor. Stephanie started working for the University of Cambridge in 2018, originally within a department, supporting the organisation of undergraduate placements.

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Kajal Chougala

Finance Coordinator


Responsible for account management within the Postdoc Academy and ensuring that the day-to-day financial operations of the department run smoothly.

Kajal prepares monthly, quarterly and annual management and financial accounts, managesresearch grants, and instructs departmental staff on University financial procedures e.g. purchasing and procurement, VAT, income, expenses, etc.

Before joining University she worked in accounts and finance within different sectors, including the NHS, banking, and hotels.

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Ceren Kaser

Centres Coordinator / Wellbeing Advocate


Responsible for the day-to-day running and usage of our three Postdoc Centres.

Ceren acts as a first point of contact for visitors and enquiries to the Postdoc Academy and oversees event bookings, maintenance and green initiatives. She is a member of the Wellbeing Advocate Network and organises Wellbeing events for the postdoc community. She also runs mentee peer group sessions with ‘ourcambridge’ and sits on the Gender Equality Steering Group.

Prior to joining the Postdoc Academy, Ceren worked in the pharmaceutical industry for over 11 years in sales and product management.

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Shaun Ballisat

Centres Coordinator

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Responsible for the day-to-day running and usage of our three Postdoc Centres.

Shaun acts as a first point of contact for visitors and enquiries to the Postdoc Academy and oversees event bookings, maintenance and green initiatives. He also provides administrative support across the office and works closely with our Communications Coordinator in producing our weekly news bulletin.

Shaun joined the Postdoc Academy in 2020, having held similar positions in Arts and Business venues.

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Researcher Development


Nicole Horst

Researcher Development Associate


Responsible for delivering the Postdoc Academy's programme of professional development training and resources, and coordinating with other services across the University providing similar opportunities.

Nicole specialises in developing and delivering content related to leadership, mentoring, networking, and personal effectiveness. She is also a module lead on the new Postgraduate Certificate in Research and Innovation Leadership.

Nicole draws on over a decade of experience as a postdoc in both the US and UK to help contextualise her work. She is an accredited Resilient Leaders Elements coach.

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Postdocs to Innovators


Katia Smith-Litiere

Entrepreneurship & Industry Engagement Project Manager


Responsible for the postdocs 2 innovators (p2i) network and for connecting postdocs to industry.

Katia works with stakeholders from national and international entrepreneurial ecosystems to develop educational programmes for postdocs. These events develop their entrepreneurial mindset and capabilities to pursue academic and non-academic career paths, including starting a venture.

She is co-developer of the p2i online course: empowering researchers to innovate, and a module lead on the Postgraduate Certificate in Research and Innovation Leadership.

Katia has a background in life sciences, as an academic researcher and an innovation consultant. She co-founded the Cambridge Science Centre and is a director of Makespace.

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Caroline Coetzee

p2i Projects & Events Coordinator


Responsible for coordinating projects and events for the Postdocs to Innovators Network, an international partnership between institutes of higher education and global companies.

Caroline is an experienced project and event manager. Her main focus is the organisation and effective running of Cambridge based p2i events. These include the biannual p2i: In Action events and p2i: Online training courses.

Caroline has been working for the University since 2015 in a variety of communications, project management and administration roles.

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Connie Shorrocks

p2i Online Community & Social Media Administrator


Responsible for running and growing the p2i network social media accounts, and encouraging online engagement amongst p2i network alumni.

Connie's role is centred around encouraging postdocs to learn entrepreneurial skills through taking part in p2i events and courses, so they may take these skills forward in their own entrepreneurial endeavours, as well as careers in industry and academia.

She specialises in social media and business growth, having started her own business.

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