PURPOSE OF THE POLICY
On July 23, 2013 the National Institutes of Health issued notice NOT-OD-13-093 encouraging universities to develop an institutional policy by October 1, 2014 requiring that an Individual Development Plan (IDP) be implemented for every graduate student and postdoctoral researcher funded by the NIH (including scholars, trainees and fellows, and individuals in other postdoctoral positions). Beginning on October 1, 2014, annual progress reports are required to include a description of whether the institution uses IDPs or not and how they are employed to help manage the training and career development of those individuals. The purpose of this policy is to meet the NIH’s requirements and its objectives to assist graduate students and postdoctoral researchers to achieve their career goals within the biomedical research workforce through the use of IDPs.
APPLICATION OF THIS POLICY
This policy applies to graduate students and postdoctoral researchers funded by the NIH. However, all graduate students and postdoctoral researchers, regardless of funding source, are encouraged to comply with this policy and implement an IDP as a means to support their training and professional development.
DEFINITIONS USED IN THIS POLICY
Individual Development Plan (IDP): IDP’s are written plans prepared by mentees, including graduate students and postdoctoral researchers, outlining the mentee’s skills, abilities, interests, and goals towards the purpose of aligning them with their personal growth and professional career objectives. IDPs are then shared with mentors who can guide mentees toward experiences that support their training and personal/professional goals.
Mentee: A mentee is someone who is advised, trained, and/or counseled by a mentor. For the purpose of this policy, a mentee is a graduate student or postdoctoral researcher.
Mentor: A mentor is someone who advises, trains, and/or counsels a mentee. For the purpose of this policy, the primary mentor is the graduate student’s faculty advisor or the postdoctoral researcher’s faculty supervisor. This policy also recognizes that graduate students and postdoctoral mentees are best supported by a network of mentors, including faculty graduate committee members, other faculty, research scientists, administrators, and career professionals.
Colorado State University requires that all graduate students and postdoctoral mentees supported by any NIH funding have an IDP to reference in progress reports submitted on/after October 1, 2014. Grantees shall report on the usage of IDP’s annually in the RPPR as outlined in NOT-OD-14-113. IDP’s do not need to be submitted to the NIH or CSU but shall remain on record with the mentee and mentor. Examples of IDP’s are available on the Graduate School’s website.
Furthermore, the CSU Graduate School encourages all graduate students and postdoctoral mentees, regardless of funding source, to have an IDP that is revised annually under consultation with the mentee’s mentor(s). IDPs do not need to be submitted to the Graduate School but shall remain on record with the mentee and mentor.
IDPs should be broadly implemented regardless of funding type and reported in all NIH progress reports submitted on or after October 1, 2014, using the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) as stated in the revised NIH policy released August 4, 2014 (NOT-OD-14-113). This revision states that “NIH annual progress reports received on/after October 1, 2014 must include a section to describe how individual development plans (IDPs) are used to identify and promote the career goals of graduate students and postdoctoral researchers associated with the award.”
COMPLIANCE WITH THIS POLICY
Compliance with this policy is required. For assistance with interpretation or application of this policy, contact the Vice President for Research or the Dean of the Graduate School.
Tools and information on developing an individualized IDP are available on the Graduate School’s website at https://graduateschool.colostate.edu/professional-development/individual-development-plan/
Below are examples of IDPs recommended by the Graduate School:
Colorado State University Graduate School
American Association for the Advancement of Science/Science Careers
National Postdoctoral Association
Approved by Alan Rudolph, Vice President for Research, on September 26, 2014
Approved by Mary Stromberger, Dean of the Graduate School, on November 22, 2019
Approved by Lynn Johnson, Vice President for University Operations, on February 17, 2020