Mentoring Postdocs

NSF Mentoring Requirements for Proposals that Support Postdocs

The National Science Foundation requires all proposals that include funding for postdoctoral researchers to include a postdoctoral mentoring plan. Proposals that do not include a plan for mentoring activities will be returned without review. Check the most recent version of the Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide on the NSF website for more details.

Examples of mentoring activities include, but are not limited to:

  • career counseling
  • training in preparation of grant proposals
  • publications and presentations
  • guidance on ways to improve teaching and mentoring skills
  • guidance on how to effectively collaborate with researchers from diverse backgrounds and disciplinary areas
  • training in responsible professional practices

Investigators may seek to identify local resources and activities that provide mentoring opportunities (i.e. laboratory meetings and seminars, periodic individual meetings, participation in manuscript and grant proposal/preparation, etc.) .

Other Mentoring Resources

  • The Office of Research Policy and partners offer seminars on research ethics.
  • The UW–Madison Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (ICTR) hosts the Research Mentoring website designed to provide resources to improve research mentoring relationships.  It provides curricula, assessment tools and resources relevant for mentors and mentees, as well as those who would like to implement mentor training.
  • The American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) has created a Compact between Postdoctoral Appointees and Their Mentors, which is "intended to initiate discussions ...about the postdoctoral appointee-mentor relationship and the commitments necessary for a high quality postdoctoral training experience." The AAMC suggests various ways it can be used in order to create mutual expectations for training between postdocs and their mentors.
  • The university recommends the use of Individual Development Plans (IDPs) for all postdoctoral researchers, and provides a range of IDP resources for mentors and mentees.
  • UW–Madison offers informal and formal activities for postdocs to improve their teaching and mentoring skills through the Delta Program in Research, Teaching and Learning and the Annual Teaching and Learning Symposium.

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