To assist postdoctoral researchers to achieve their career goals, the Office for Postdoctoral Studies at the School of Graduate Studies in the Heath Sciences mandates that all postdoctoral researchers develop and use an Individual Development Plan.
The Individual Development Plan (IDP) is an extremely useful tool designed to assist the postdoc with:
In addition to serving as a planning tool, an IDP also serves as a communication tool, allowing the postdoc to communicate research and career goals to mentors, including research advisors.
There is broad agreement that core competencies provide an excellent way to evaluate career/professional development. Core competencies are primarily blends of skills and experiences that future employers and/or educational institutions will be seeking. Specifically, postdoctoral training should aim to build competence in:
An excellent free online tool for developing an IDP is myIDP. This tool is written specifically for scientists to help them understand their skills, values and interests and how those align with potential career choices.
Another model IDP, developed by FASEB, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, can be found online.
The School of Graduate Studies in the Heath Sciences organized a seminar and workshop on Nov. 14, 2013, with Dr. Phil Clifford, co-developer of myIDP. Attendance to the workshop is strongly encouraged for all postdoctoral researchers. Dr. Clifford's lecture is currently available for additional viewing at:
The Office for Postdoctoral Studies in the School of Graduate Studies in the Heath Sciences will organize a lecture annually for all new postdoctoral fellows to educate them on the use of IDP and the myIDP website.