Putting PhDs to work: Career planning for today's scientist

Academic Article


  • Individual development plans (IDPs) have been promoted nationally as a tool to help research trainees explore career opportunities and set career goals. Despite the interest in IDPs from a policy perspective, there is little information about how they have been used. The authors examined IDP awareness and use, the benefits of creating an IDP, and ways to facilitate its use by administering a survey to current or former postdoctoral researchers via the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) and University of Alabama at Birmingham email lists; individuals belonging to Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology member societies who mentored postdocs; and postdoctoral administrators at member institutions of the Association of American Medical Colleges and the NPA. Although most postdoctoral administrators (>80%) were familiar with IDPs, less than 50% of postdocs and only 20% of mentors were aware of IDPs. For those postdocs and mentors who reported creating an IDP, the process helped postdocs to identify the skills and abilities necessary for career success and facilitated communication between postdocs and their mentors. Despite the fact that creating an IDP benefits postdocs and mentors, IDP use will likely remain low unless institutions and research mentors encourage trainees to engage in this process. © 2014 J. A. Hobin et al.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 1944305
  • Author List

  • Hobin JA; Clifford PS; Dunn BM; Rich S; Justement LB
  • Start Page

  • 49
  • End Page

  • 53
  • Volume

  • 13
  • Issue

  • 1