Postdoc Development

Individual Development Plan (IDP)

Findings from a 2005 Sigma Xi Postdoc multi-campus survey of US postdoctoral scholars underscore the importance of the IDP for career planning and professional development. Postdocs who reported the highest levels of oversight and professional development were more satisfied, gave their advisors higher ratings, reported fewer conflicts with their advisors, and were more productive than those reporting the lowest levels. Crafting an IDP at the outset of the postdoctoral appointment may contribute to better time management, more efficient resource use, and more focused effort.

Compared to their peers without a written plan, postdocs who begin their appointment with an IDP developed in collaboration with their advisors:
  • are 23% more likely to submit papers to peer-reviewed journals;
  • publish first-authored papers at a 30% higher rate;
  • submit grant proposals at a 25% higher rate; and
  • are 25% less likely to report that their advisor did not meet their initial expectations.
By defining their career goals early on, postdocs are better able to identify and participate in professional development opportunities (e.g., teaching, proposal writing, project management) targeted toward achieving their specific objectives. They're also better able to clarify their career goals and expectations with their mentor or PI, which in turn leads to better communication, better planning, and more successful outcomes.

Postdoc/Mentor Compact

Provided by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), this compact serves as both a pledge and a reminder to mentors and their postdoctoral appointees that their conduct in fulfilling their commitments to one another should reflect the highest professional standards and mutual respect.

Annual Performance Review

The annual review form provided below is intended primarily as a model process to assist PIs, faculty mentors, and postdocs in the postdoctoral annual review. Depending on your specific needs, you may use any or all portions of the document, or simply use it as a guide to create your own.

smiling postdoc