Postdoc Best Practice Resources

Developing new talent to carry out high impact research is of paramount importance to the Computer Science & Engineering research enterprise.  An appointment as a postdoctoral researcher is an increasingly common starting point for a research career.  The National Science Foundation (NSF) Computer & Information Science and Engineering (CISE) Directorate and the CCC recognize the critical importance in having an excellent postdoc training experience to help junior researchers advance their careers.

With NSF’s backing, the CCC created a program to develop, implement and institutionalize the implementation of best practices for supporting postdocs. This program awarded grants to institutions and consortia of institutions to implement best practices for strengthening the postdoc experience in computer science and computing-related fields.  These supporting programs have enabled PhD graduates to transition effectively to research roles in a variety of sectors.

This page contains collected resources from the awarded programs and broader community related to the development of best practices for postdocs.

Information on the awarded programs can be found here.

Individual Development Plans

Independent Development Plans (IDPs) were introduced by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB)’s Science Policy Committee and supply a framework for identifying professional development needs and career objectives. The IDPs are an important part of the three CCC Best Practice consortia’s current programming. Below you can find resources related to the development of a successful IDP.

IDP Templates from Multiple Sources:

CCC Postdoc Best Practices Programs:

Other Universities:


In 2003, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) proposed an IDP framework for postdoctoral fellows in the sciences. Expanding on that framework, myIDP is a unique, web-based career-planning tool tailored to meet the needs of PhD students and postdocs in the sciences.

Career Development

The following links are related to best practices for general career development and come from CRA committees and the Postdoc Best Practices programs.

Resources from CRA:
  • Slides from the Career Mentoring Workshop held by CRA-W in 2015 are available here. The slides cover a number of topics relating to professional development, including effective mentorship.
  • A number of videos were recorded at the 2014 CI Fellows workshop. A playlist of the videos can be viewed on Youtube.
  • The slides on writing a compelling proposal from the CI Fellows workshop are available here.
  • The slides on sharing your research with a broader audience from the CI Fellows workshop are available here.
Resources from NYC ASCENT:
  • One of the career development related resources that NYC Ascent has made available on their website is the Columbia University career planning guide. It is available here.
Resources from UW:
  • University of Washington has gathered many resources to help Postdocs in their all round development. These resources are taken from University of Washington and many other publicly available sources. Some of the publicly available, general resources from those resources is compiled here.
Other Resources

The following links cover a varied spectrum of best practices related to best practices for postdocs.

Good Books to Read:
  • The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age – This book provides an insight into one of the very important questions in a workplace i.e . How to manage the employer-employee relationship ? It is a great resource to help postdocs develop workplace management skills. The book is available for purchase online.
  • Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business – This book talks about many secrets of working in a productive way in both professional and personal life. It will help postdocs work more efficiently. The book is available for purchase online.
Teaching Resources:
  • The Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning courses:
    • The Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL) is an NSF Center for Learning and Teaching in higher education.
    • CIRTL uses graduate education as the leverage point to develop a national STEM faculty committed to implementing and advancing effective teaching practices for diverse student audiences as part of successful professional careers.
    • The goal of CIRTL is to improve the STEM learning of all students at every college and university, and thereby to increase the diversity in STEM fields and the STEM literacy of the nation.
    • More details about CIRTL courses is available here.
Communication Development Resources:
  • Alan Alda Center for Communication Workshops – The Alda Center’s Science Communication offers paid workshops to improve communication skills. The goal of Workshops is to help participants learn to communicate more effectively with people outside their field . It will help postdocs to communicate their research and help them in networking. More details on the workshops is available here.