Photo: Courtesy of Heather I. Rieff

Postdoctoral fellows and principal investigators work together to craft individual development plans, but the written document represents only one stage of the project. The final step puts plan into action.

Implementation of the individual development plan (IDP) challenges both mentor and fellow to remain flexible, since the postdoctoral fellow's needs and goals will almost certainly change during the fellowship. A postdoc needs to review the IDP with his mentor once a year and modify it as goals and circumstances change. A written annual performance review can document progress toward milestones defined in the plan. The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) has developed a sample annual review ( that can be used along with the FASEB IDP (

As your IDP evolves, remember that good mentorship is a two-way street. Your mentor has responsibilities, but so do you....

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