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Postdoctoral Professional Development

In line with the Researcher Development Concordat, Postdoctoral Early Career Researchers are entitled to participate in a minimum of ten days (pro rata per year) professional development. The ‘Looking Beyond Horizons’ resources have been developed to help early career researchers to make informed choices about their professional development and career needs. They are designed and structured around a 4 step process:

  1. Take stock of existing skills, strengths and opportunities, using the Prompt List of Professional Development Opportunities that can be used to generate ideas and discussion. Please note, this is a google document and researchers will be prompted to save their own copy.
  2. Reflect on and consider future professional development opportunities using the Postdoctoral Researcher Career journey (2a), the accompanying Padlet (2b) and available training using the York Researcher Professional Development & Skills Programme 2021-2022 (PDF , 4,266kb) (2c) to find links and resources. The aim is for early career researchers to generate options for themselves and to identify strengths and gaps in their skill set.  
  3. Create a Professional Development Plan (PDP). Identify what additional experience, training, support and mentoring is needed to fill the professional development gaps - and to detail this in a Professional Development Plan (PDP).
  4. Submit the PDP and review as part of your Annual Performance and Development review. The PDR guidelines for reviewees and guidelines for reviewers now include links to the ‘Looking Beyond Horizons’ resources. The Academic, Research, Teaching and Scholarship Staff PDR form includes a prompt to use these resources to support discussions around Career Development and Future Plans. Your line manager should be expecting this information, so please send it to them with the PDR paperwork so that they have time to consider it.

The time required to complete this 4 step process is estimated to be 2 hours and may be counted in the 10 days professional development time.

Once completed researchers are strongly encouraged to share their PDP with their line manager/PI and discuss with them what opportunities are available or could be developed to support their professional development. This may include for example, the researcher joining a committee, getting a mentor or a coach, or taking part in public engagement.  

The output of these discussions should be recorded on the Career Development section of the  Performance and Development Review process. This information and set of experiences can then be used to support and supplement job, grant and Fellowship applications. Online Professional Development workshops are freely available via the LMS to help you take this forward.

For Supervisors

As part of your conversations with researchers in their Performance and Development Review (PDR) you can use the Supporting Professional Development Discussions with Researchers document below to help you and the individual researcher to identify professional development activities that have taken place over the previous year and opportunities for the future that will enable them to develop their identity and skills as research staff.

Supporting Professional Development Discussions with Researchers 2021 (PDF , 54kb)