Postdoctoral Programs

Postdoctoral Researchers Mentoring Plan

The goal of this mentoring plan is to provide a flexible framework for the postdoc’s professional and career development that accommodates the needs of the individual. In accordance with the National Academies of Science and Engineering[1] report on enhancing the postdoctoral experience, the plan includes both structured and informal mentoring activities, career planning assistance, and opportunities to learn valuable career skills such as grant writing, teaching, networking and communication. These activities will broaden his/her research abilities and equip him/her with the skills necessary for a successful career. We will mostly follow good practices put recently in place at MIT and use the extensive tools for advisors and advisees available there, see We summarize below first our principles, guidelines and approach; we then describe the details of the mentorship.

Guidelines for Faculty Mentorship at the BMM Center. For postdoctoral associates affiliated with the BMM Center, we expect the mentor to abide by the following guidelines. The mentor should:

  • Take an active role in the research of the PDA, providing guidance as needed, but also allowing the PDA to take an increasing role in charting the direction of his or her research.
  • Provide adequate supervision, being both available for consultation and actively engaged in the research of the PDA.
  • Ensure that the PDA attends and actively participates in national and international meetings in two of neuroscience, cognitive science and computer science.
  • Provide career guidance to the PDA and help in securing an appropriate position when their term as a PDA is completed. These statements essentially formalize what we all recognize to be good practice in the continuing education of a PDA, but they do little to prepare the candidate for the other aspects of their career. We therefore propose, in addition, the following:
  • That the PDA be required to attend seminars on each of the following: 1) teaching methodologies (2 hours), 2) laboratory management (1 hour), 3) proposal preparation (1 hour), and 4) ethics in research (2 hours).
  • That the PDA be provided the opportunity to share in the supervision of undergraduate and graduate research students,
  • That the PDA be encouraged to participate in teaching to the extent that they wish.

We will establish a postdoc group designed to give postdocs opportunities to independently organize activities that serve their interests. This will include their own weekly research meetings to facilitate collaboration and discussion, one session devoted entirely to presentations by the  PDAs of their research at the annual summer retreat, and financial support for invited speakers, workshops, and outside visits. In order to gauge our success in furthering the education of our PDAs, each will be asked to complete an anonymous survey at the time that their appointment ends. These will be read and discussed by the ECR at their annual meeting.

[1] National Academy of Science, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, “Enhancing the Postdoctoral Experience for Scientists and Engineers: A Guide for Postdoctoral Scholars, Advisers, Institutions, Funding Organizations, and Disciplinary Societies,” National Academies Press. 2000.