Individual Development Plan (IDP) for Postdoctoral Fellows at Vanderbilt University

This Individual Development Plan (IDP) is a valuable communication and planning tool which encourages collaboration between postdoctoral fellows and their research advisors. Each postdoctoral fellow must complete and submit an IDP within two months of her or his initial appointment, as soon as the postdoctoral project(s) are identified. Having a clear project vision and consensus between postdoc and advisor at the beginning of the postdoctoral appointment prevents later misunderstanding. A copy of this first IDP should be scanned and emailed to in the BRET Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, for inclusion in the fellow’s file. Subsequently, each postdoctoral fellow and visiting research fellow must complete and submit a renewed IDP at the time of annual reappointment.

Goals of the IDP

An annual IDP is one component of a broader professional development strategy and mentoring strategy. Specifically, it helps postdoctoral fellows:

  • Identify progress in training and document accomplishments to date.
  • Set goals for the upcoming year, including discussing how to spend time to maximize progress toward career, professional development, and project goals.
  • Identify short-term needs for improving performance.
  • Define ways to develop specific skills and experience needed to prepare for long-term career goals and complete research training.

Individual Development Plan (IDP) Revised 2016

(Please use the above format rather than previous versions)

myIDP is a complementary tool which provides:

  • Exercises to help you examine your skills, interests, and values
  • A list of 20 scientific career paths with a prediction of which ones best fit your skills and interests
  • A tool for setting strategic goals for the coming year, with optional reminders to keep you on track
  • Articles and resources to guide you through the process

Completing the Individual Development Plan (IDP) at the beginning of the postdoctoral fellow's appointment, as soon as the postdoctoral project(s) are decided, has proven to be most successful . The first page of the IDP confirms aims and their significance. A clear vision between postdoc and mentor at the beginning of the postdoctoral appointment prevents later misunderstanding.  A copy of this first IDP may be scanned to for inclusion in the fellow's file. Thereafter, a revised IDP is an integral part of each reappointment.

The fellow's reappointment letter will not be issued without a completed Individual Development Plan with mentor's comments. About one to two months before the reappointment date, fellows should revise and update their IDPs, give a copy to their mentor and set up a meeting with the mentor to discuss the IDP.  After the mentor has responded with written comments and signed the IDP, the fellow should let his departmental administrator know he has fulfilled his reappointment duties by taking the IDP and an updated CV to the administrator.