The National Science Foundation (NSF) requires all proposals requesting funding for postdoctoral scholars to include a Postdoctoral Researcher Mentoring Plan. If not supplied, the proposal will be returned without review. Click here for NSF’s specific guidance.

RIO’s Office of Postdoctoral Affairs has prepared the guidance below for use when developing grant proposals. The bullet points and narrative template are merely suggestions and should be modified to fit your particular needs. Note the italicized portions of the narrative template should be specific to your proposal.

You may also wish to include section headers. Typical sections include: project orientation, career counseling, grant development opportunities, presentations/publications, teaching/mentoring skills, and metrics for success. 

Your Postdoctoral Researcher Mentoring Plan may include postdoc:

  • Research responsibilities;
  • Scientific and technical skills to be developed:
    • Courses taken
    • Individual apprenticeship – who will teach them the skills and their credentials
    • Literature review – specify what, how, when;
  • Participation in writing reviews, research articles, books/chapters, and grant applications;
  • Participation in lab management, operations (ordering, budgets, maintaining facilities/equipment), mentoring, compliance/training, and project planning;
  • Participation in professional development workshops available through OPA or other units on campus (include a description of such events);
  • Presentation opportunities and possible travel support (i.e., conferences, society meetings);
  • Publication opportunities for manuscripts, articles, and scientific journals;
  • Training for responsible conduct of research as well as other relevant training;
  • Individual Development Plan and Annual Performance Review details (CU Boulder Annual Performance Cycle information);  
  • Participation in lab/group meetings, and the scope of their participation in these meetings;
  • Teaching opportunities:
  • Mentor meeting details (i.e., frequency, discussion of research results and career goals);
  • Mentoring teams or peers; and
  • Metrics for success. Possible mechanisms:
    • Mentor meetings;
    • Tracking postdoc progress on IDPs every 6-12 months (OPA recommends a 6 month check-in and goal revision meeting, with a 12 month evaluation as part of the annual review process); and
    • Exit interviews and alumni tracking.

Template: Postdoctoral Researcher Mentoring Plan 

Project Title

The postdoctoral scholars on this project will conduct research on <describe research here>. Under my mentorship, postdocs will develop the technical and scientific skills needed to execute this research program. In the course of this program, they will develop technical skills in <describe scientific fields/areas here>. They will also learn to formulate and test scientific hypotheses, refine their writing and grant development skills, and present their research to the greater scientific community. These technical and scientific skills will be instrumental in shaping their independent research careers after their postdoctoral training is completed.

Postdocs in my research program will regularly interface with me and senior lab members through <weekly/monthly one-on-one and lab meetings>, respectively. Individually, I will work with postdocs to design individual development plans (IDP) to accomplish their research, training and career goals that will be incorporated into their annual review. I will discuss progress on their research projects, and provide them with opportunities to develop their lab management portfolio by being involved in operations (such as ordering, budgets, and maintaining facilities), mentoring of junior lab members, and project planning. At <weekly> lab meetings, postdocs will be able to present their research and project difficulties to the group and learn how their projects align with the greater program goals. Furthermore, postdocs will be encouraged to attend <weekly/monthly departmental seminars and journal clubs> to increase their scientific knowledge in the area of <describe area here>.