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GRASP Speed Networking 2020 CANCELLED

We at GRASP are very sad to announce that we have decided to postpone the upcoming speed networking event. As I'm sure you're all aware, various departments and colleges are beginning to take certain precautions due to the current COVID-19 outbreak. Our decision is that it would be unwise to host a social event right now, especially as we are all graduate students and postdocs within life sciences.

We will be arranging refunds for all tickets as soon as possible and please keep an eye out for emails detailing our new event date.


The GRAduate Student and Postdoc Forum…

… presents concerns from postgraduate students and early career research staff to the Graduate School of Life Sciences (GSLS) Strategic Committee

… facilitates interdepartmental communication amongst postgraduate students and early career researchers (via surveys, forums, events, etc.) to help the GSLS function as a whole

… consults with the Strategic Committee on matters related to academic education, scientific training, transferable skills training and careers training that are of direct relevance to postgraduate students and early career researchers



GRASP is a GRAduate Student and Postdoc forum founded in 2011 which aims to bring researchers from various departments and backgrounds together and coordinate academic activities across all Departments, Institutes and Partner Institutions of the Graduate School of Life Sciences (GSLS).

Life science researchers from all fields, from plants to medicine, are welcome to join our community.

Forum attendees act as GRASP reps (representatives of their departments) and everyone can volunteer to organise an event with GRASP; in addition, we have a more permanent Executive committee that gets elected once per academic year.


We meet at least once a term at a forum where we discuss issues that GSLS researchers face and which social and academic events they want to see organised. In addition, we organise events that bring researchers from different schools and departments together.


In addition to events we organise, we interact closely with the GSLS Strategic committee at which our rep shares your concerns with the University administrative members that make decisions relevant to your studies and work conditions. For instance, we advice the University on which training events are in demands, or which academic events should be supported more.

You can suggest topics for discussion at the Strategic committee meeting in person at forums; alternatively, please use the anonymous form to submit any questions or concerns about things you are facing in your department and it will be shared with the University administration.


We want to make GRASP more accessible, visible, and useful to researchers in GSLS. In particular, we want to provide useful online resources that would include a link to the funding database, list of relevant clubs and societies, database of academic mentors that are willing to help you, and an update on important decisions made at the Strategic committee meetings to make our interaction more transparent.


You can submit thoughts, feedback and event ideas anonymously through our online form here.



The GSLS Strategic Committee is responsible for setting the strategic direction of the Graduate School of Life Sciences, ensuring that the GSLS has the visibility and academic standing to be ranked amongst the very best graduate schools internationally and that the two contributing Schools (Biological Sciences and Clinical Medicine) have policies, structures, processes and resources in place to effect these aims.

The Strategic Committee is made up of senior academic staff from both Schools who represent the Departments and Partner Institutes, funding programmes and researcher developers and trainers. The President of GRASP attends to represent GSLS students and postdocs and ensure that the decisions taken by the Strategic Committee are in the best interests of graduate students. The Committee is currently chaired by Professor Fiona Gribble, Director of Graduate Education for the School of Clinical Medicine. The Committee meets once per term to discuss all matters relating to graduate education in the GSLS, including funding opportunities, training programmes and enhancing our graduate programmes.

A summary of discussions at the most recent GSLS Strategic Committee meeting can be found here.

If you have any items you'd like to raise please contact the committee at 



For further enquiries about GRASP, please contact the committee via or to a member directly.


President - Avgi Andreou  
Secretary - Sarah Assaad -
Treasurer - Yunjia Zhang
Website manager - Rachel Foreman
Outreach coordinator - Alberto Echevarria Poza



1. Panel discussion - Michaelmas term 2018

A panel consisting of senior and junior postdocs, a careers office advisor, and a final year PhD student gave their opinions on the questions asked by PhD students at the start of their course accompanied by nibbles and wine reception.

2. Speed networking - Lent term 2019

GRASP brought a variety of junior researchers - from masters and PhD students to postdocs together to have pizza, cake, drinks, and casual networking. Guests were advised to come up with a collaborative project or any common interest with a stranger in 5 minutes, and each guest had a chance to talk to 6 new people followed by free mingling time. By the end of the evening the room full of strangers gradually transformed into a friendly and collaborative environment, and we were encouraged to make Speed Networking a recurrent GRASP event!

Grasp speed networking event March 2019

3. Leadership camp - Easter 2019

GRASP held its first Leadership camp in August, to provide postgraduate students and postdocs in life sciences with a fun and engaging set of 4 leadership activities which put their skills to the test as team leaders and executive members. Three teams of 4-5 members had to follow simple instructions like building a tower and a plane or reproducing a drawing and collecting cubes scattered around the venue with the help of simple materials such as paper and wooden sticks, all with a catch: all members of the team, except for the leader, had to be blindfolded! Each member of the team had a chance to try themselves in the leader’s role, and even though all teams demonstrating a good level of team work and completed the activities, only one winner team could take the prize home. As dusk descended and glasses filled with wine, participants reflected on what contributed to their success as team leaders and the challenges that might have hindered their performance. We truly hope that the attendees would take the lessons home to lead and follow mindfully, blindfolded or not. GRASP_leadership_camp_2019_1GRASP_leadership_camp_2019_3