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Postdoc Academy


Congratulations on securing a postdoctoral position in Cambridge. You are coming to a world-leading institution in a great city.

There is a lot of support available to help your move to Cambridge go as smoothly as possible.

The following sections provide details of some of the most important aspects of moving to Cambridge – especially where there is particular assistance for postdocs.

Have a look at the Life in Cambridge section of the Accommodation Service website for further information to help you settle into the city.

Visas and Immigration

If you are moving from a foreign country, your passport or identity card will be checked when you arrive at a UK airport or port – it must be valid for the whole of your stay. You may also need a visa to enter the UK, depending on your nationality.

Your department should instruct you as to what you need to do to obtain the right to work in the UK.

The University has an Immigration Compliance Team within the HR department. They can assist you with immigration applications, including applications for spouses, partners and families – contact them on

More information is available on the HR website.


Rental accommodation

The University of Cambridge has a dedicated Accommodation Service to help you find both short- and long-term accommodation in Cambridge.

Visit their website, contact them by email, or drop in to see them at Kellet Lodge on Tennis Court Road to find out how they can assist you in finding accommodation.

They provide listings of both temporary accommodation for short visits to Cambridge, and long-term homes to rent. This includes houses and flats, as well as rooms in Colleges and shared houses.


Key worker accommodation

Eddington is a new district located 2km northwest of the city centre of Cambridge, between Madingley Road and Huntingdon Road.

The first phase of accommodation became available from August 2017, and consists mainly of furnished 1- and 2-bedroom apartments.

Postdocs employed by the University, Colleges, and partner institutes can apply to rent these apartments. Priority on the waiting list will be given to new members of staff, particularly those coming from overseas.

You can find information about these homes and how to apply to rent them on the Accommodation Service website

Detailed information about eligibility criteria, the application process, and terms & conditions of the rental are provided in their Frequently Asked Questions section.

If you have further questions, you can contact the Area Housing Manager.


Council tax and utility bills 

Once you have moved into your new home, you’ll need to let the local council know so that council tax bills can be issued in your name. You can do this online and find more information here.

You will need to do the same with your utilities providers. For water bills, this will be Cambridge Water. You can generally choose whichever provider will offer you the best deal for all other utilities.


You can find out more about how the healthcare system in England works on the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website – including what is available via the National Health Service (NHS) and information about private healthcare.


Registering with a doctor

As soon as you arrive in the UK and find accommodation, it is important to register with a doctor in the area where you live.

In the UK, doctors are often referred to as ‘GPs’, which stands for General Practitioner, so expect to hear both terms used. You can find a local GP here.

You can also look up your nearest pharmacy, dentist, or urgent care service on the NHS website.


Emergency medical care

If you require emergency medical assistance and are unable to travel to the hospital, dial 999 from any phone and ask for the ambulance service.

If you need urgent treatment, but you are well enough to travel, you can make your own way to the nearest hospital’s Accident and Emergency (A&E) department.

You should only go to the A&E department for serious injuries or conditions which require urgent medical attention – for everything else you should make an appointment with your GP.


NHS 111

If you have an urgent medical problem and aren't sure what to do, or which service to seek help from, contact NHS 111.

You can do this via the NHS 111 website, or by phoning 111 from any phone.

Schools and Childcare


Schooling is compulsory in the UK for children between 5 and 16 years of age, whether they are UK nationals or not.

If your child is under 16 and will be with you as your dependent for more than 6 months, they should be able to go to a state primary or secondary school free of charge. 

Admission is governed by Cambridgeshire County Council. Their detailed guidance regarding admissions sets out the procedures that you need to follow to obtain a school place for your child.

There are also private schools, which charge fees to attend. For a list of all private schools and guidance on how to apply, see the Independent Schools Council website.

You may teach your child at home, full or part-time (“home schooling”), but you must inform the school and your local council if you choose this option.

You can find more information about types of schools in the UK here.


Nurseries and Childcare

The Returning Carers Scheme from the University's HR department provides funds to support professional development for those returning to work after a career break or period of leave for caring responsibilities.

The University of Cambridge has a Childcare Office, which oversees our three day nurseries: at Edwinstowe Close, West Cambridge and Eddington, for children from three months to school age.

They also run a holiday playscheme for school-age children.

The Childcare Office operates an information service, which offers information on family related issues including childcare, schooling, healthcare, financial support and local community resources.

All child-minders, nurseries, and preschools are regulated by a government body known as Ofsted.

You can search for registered providers and find information about different types of childcare on the Cambridgeshire County Council website.


Children’s centres and activities

Child and family centres provide health and family support services, and information for families with children up to 5 years old. 

Libraries have a wide range of children's books, activities and services – they can also be a good source of information for what activities are happening locally.

Newcomers and Visiting Scholars run a programme of child-friendly events and activities.


Postdocs moving to Cambridge from abroad can have problems opening accounts at many UK banks because of the documentation required, not all of which is immediately available when you move.

Following lobbying from the Postdoc Academy and the HR Compliance Team, Barclays Bank has established an agreement with the University to help staff arriving in the UK open a bank account without requiring proof of address. 

As soon as you arrive in the UK, you can now obtain a letter from the University’s HR Compliance Team, regardless of your living arrangements, which Barclays will accept in place of proof of address.

You can find the full details, terms and conditions of the agreement on the HR webpages.

When you go into the bank to open your account, you will need to take with you:

  • Proof of your identity – passport, national identity card, national driving licence
  • Your visa (or residence permit for EU nationals)
  • The letter provided by the HR Compliance Team

However, you are not obliged to bank with Barclays and can change bank at any time if you do open an account with them.

You can find useful information about banks, building societies and bank accounts in the UK on the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website.

Other Services/Facilities

The following services and facilities are also available to you and may be useful in your life and work in Cambridge:



University Chaplains

University Sports Centre

Language Centre



Meet Cambridge

Equipment Sharing Database

University Library