The postdoctoral training period is typically of short duration with an intense focus on research. Many advanced postdoctoral scholars will advise new postdocs to start by developing a customized plan to map out their goals.
This personalized plan, often called an individual development plan (IDP), can be the roadmap to a successful postdoc. A national survey of postdocs in 2003 by Sigma Xi found a plan developed early by the postdoc and adviser was associated with greater success of the postdoc.
Postdoctoral Affairs Office Resources
The Postdoctoral Affairs Office regularly offers a workshop "Planning for a Successful Postdoc" to help you develop an individual development plan. Check the Events Calendar for upcoming dates. You can also contact the Postdoctoral Affairs Office to schedule a time to discuss how to develop your IDP.
ScienceCareers has developed an online IDP program called myIDP. This online tool leads you through exercises to develop your IDP and set goals. It also has options for setting up reminders to help you stay focused on achieving your goals.
The following resources can help you reflect on your goals for your postdoc and develop a customized plan:
- Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) Individual Development Plan
- National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) Core Competencies
- Vanderbilt University Medical Center Individual Development Plan
Creating your IDP is just the first step. Now you need to put your plan into action! The Certificates in Professional Development for Postdocs are a great way to help you implement your plan.