Texas Tech University
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NIH Makes Changes to Annual Reports Criteria
by Alice Young & Marianne Evola

NIH has mandated that NIH annual progress reports received on/after October 1, 2014 must include a section that describes how individual development plans (IDPs) are used to identify and promote the career goals of graduate students and postdoctoral researchers associated with the award:  http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-14-113.html. NIH isn’t asking for the actual IDPs, but rather is asking that the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) provide a report on the use of IDPs in Section B. Accomplishments (question B4).

NIH is also encouraging institutions to develop policies that employ IDPs for every graduate student and postdoctoral researcher. The Graduate School has scheduled a workshop on from 4-5 p.m. Oct. 8 in the Graduate Center in the basement of the Administration Building to introduce graduate students and postdocs to the process of creating and using an IDP (details here: http://www.depts.ttu.edu/gradschool/Events/). A brief preview is provided below. If you have other resources that would be useful to trainees at TTU, please forward them to Dr. Marianne Evola, and we’ll post them on an upcoming shared Graduate School – OVPR webpage.

IDP FAQs:

What is an IDP?  An IDP is an Individual Development Plan that graduate students and postdoctoral researchers can use to create a long-term strategy for successful career development and advancement. An IDP can help trainees explore career possibilities and set goals for professional development. An IDP can also help graduate students, postdocs and mentors define expectations and benchmarks for success. 

What are the steps to create & use an IDP?

In the process of creating & using an IDP, graduate students and postdocs are asked to:
  1. Complete a self-assessment of their skills, values and interests.
  2. Learn about career options for Ph.D.-level professionals and compare their skill sets and interests to career options.
  3. Make a concrete plan for how to improve skills, build a network and gain experience needed for their career path.
  4. Recruit mentors to assist with their IDP and provide accountability for meeting its goals.
  5. Regularly review their plan with mentor/s to assess progress and address barriers toward meeting their goals.

    Mentors are asked to:
  1. Identify professional development opportunities available for their trainees
  2. Schedule regular private meetings to discuss IDPs with individual trainees
  3. Establish regular reviews of individual trainee progress, expectations, and changing goals
What resources are available to assist in creating an IDP?

Alice Young is associate vice president for research/research integrity in the Office of the Vice President for Research. Marianne Evola is senior administrator in the Responsible Research area of the Office of the Vice President for Research.