Individual Development Plan (IDP)

An individual development plan (IDP) is not a performance evaluation or a one-time activity, but a tool to help you grow personally and professionally. It should be developed in partnership with your PI, and involve preparation and continuous communication between you and your PI.

The development of the IDP roughly involves five phases

  1. Pre-Plan -- You and your PI prepare independently for your meeting
  2. Meet -- Items for discussion include your strengths, areas for improvement, interests, goals, and organizational requirements (see worksheet below)
  3. Prepare IDP - You, in consultation with your PI, complete plan for individual development (you can use the tool developed by Science:
  4. Implement Plan -- You pursue the plan identified in your IDP.
  5. Review -- Every year, and preferably every six months, you review your IDP with your PI and adjust as needed.

Please note: While your PI and you work together to develop your IDP, you are ultimately resposible for taking the initiative for your professional development.

For Postdocs and their faculty mentors: The use of the following templates is encouraged as a springboard for future discussions (both are adapted from documents created at Stanford University):

Additional resource clarifying expectations and responsibilities by both postdocs and their faculty mentors:

For Postdocs

Science Careers has a great tool for developing your IDP:

Please also consult the Science article, "You need a game plan."