According to research conducted by Sigma Xi, postdocs who complete an Individual Development Plan (IDP) produce more publications and consider their careers more satisfying than those who do not (Gitlin J. Establishing career platforms for postdocs through individual development plans. Dis Model Mech. 2008 Jul-Aug; 1(1): 15). Moreover, encouraging your postdoc to complete an IDP will help ensure that you and your postdoc are on the same page with respect to his or her career plans, research and skill development activities, progress, and time to independence.

OPA has developed an IDP for postdoctoral scholars at CU Boulder that provides a set of guidelines and resources for faculty mentors to help their postdocs complete their IDPs, as well as space for your comments. OPA also developed guidelines for mentors to help their postdocs create an IDP.

OPA recommends that postdocs and their mentors complete an initial IDP within the first 2-3 months of their postdoctoral appointment, and annually thereafter in conjunction with the CU Boulder Performance Cycle, with a mid-year review to re-evaluate goals that may need to be altered due to a dynamic research environment. The IDP provided by OPA encourages you and your postdoctoral scholar to meet regularly to discuss his or her career development. Such meetings will ensure that you are working toward common goals, and that any career needs or performance issues do not come as a surprise to either party.