Professional Development Plan

Professional Development Plan

As a postdoctoral scholar, the goal is to perform and publish high-quality research and build professional skills and relationships critical for launching a successful career as an independent researcher. To help you achieve these goals, PSU offers a variety of workshops and training activities focused on building skills necessary for success.

These pages contain information about establishing research and career goals as a postdoctoral scholar through the creation of an individual development plan, exploring and defining career paths, academic and non-academic career applications, and about career and professional development opportunities available at PSU and partnering institutions.

Professional Development Workshops Will Include:

  • Grant Writing - how to write grant proposals to secure funding for your research and other scholarly activities.
  • Grant Administration - understanding the federal and state regulations that govern how monies can be spent, and how to best manage an award once obtained.
  • CV/Biosketch Development - what is the key information to highlight in a Biosketch to best communicate skills and competencies. This workshop will help you create Biosketches in both NSF and NIH formats.
  • Research Communication - how to communicate with the public, use social media and the press to promote your work and create effective presentations.
  • Multicultural Competency - how to support students, employees, and colleagues from diverse backgrounds and create an inclusive environment.
  • Project Management - how to manage people, resources, and time to achieve research goals.
  • Teaching in Higher Education - how to develop courses and be an effective instructor.
  • Working with Government Agencies - how to cultivate collaborative relationships with scientists at federal and state agencies that engage in research.
  • Working with Nonprofits and Non-governmental-organizations (NGOs) - how to develop research relationships with partner scientists at nonprofits and NGOs.
  • Intellectual Property, Patents, Commercialization, and Technology Transfer - how to pursue IP protection and possible commercialization of research output to promote its use and increase its impact.
  • University Structure and Function - how do the various parts of a University work and where do you find resources.

Individual Professional Development Plan (IDP)

The IDP is intended to help postdocs leverage their mentored training into a successful career path. An IDP is a tool, created by the postdoc in collaboration with their mentor, to map and meet individual career goals. It is a list of goals and objectives set to a specific timeline. The goals include those related to the postdoc's research, teaching and research skills development, and career planning. Postdocs will work with their faculty mentor to help establish a plan with realistic goals, articulated strategies and a timeline for achieving articulated goals.

The IDP is meant to facilitate the postdoc’s professional growth and:

  • initiate discussion between mentor and mentee, clarifying expectations
  • focus individualized needs and goals as defined by the participant
  • clarify short- and long-term goals often required by funding agencies and the activities required to meet them.

IDP’s are required of postdocs and must be submitted within 3 months of appointment date. Submit to Amy Spring at