Assistant Dean for Postdoctoral Initiatives Rhonda Jones-Webb
Office of Postdoctoral Initiatives (OPI) Mission
The mission of the Office of Postdoctoral Initiatives is to continually work with faculty to create the most positive and supportive climate and culture. Our specific goals are to:
- Build community and give greater visibility to postdoctoral scholars;
- Encourage excellence in postdoctoral mentoring, advising, and professional development;
- Prepare the next generation of scholars to be leaders and change agents in their respective fields.
The Postdoctoral Handbook offers new and returning postdocs a guide to resources and information from across the University and broader community.
To achieve our goals, OPI focuses on the following priority areas:
Postdoctoral Appreciation Week
Each September, the Office of Postdoctoral Initiatives hosts a welcome event for postodcs during National Postdoctoral Appreciation Week (a National Postdoctoral Association-sponsored initiative).
Each month, the Office of Postdoctoral Initiatives publishes an online newsletter with information about upcoming events, professional development opportunities, and ways to get involved with the broader postdoc community. To submit information to the Post, e.g, announcements regarding professional development and funding opportunities, please submit to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Policy Initiatives and Advocacy to Improve Climate Surrounding Postdoctoral Education
The Office of Postdoctoral Issues works on policy initiatives and advocacy in support of postdocs, e.g, equity health benefits, time for professional development outside the “lab.”
Monitoring and Evaluation of Climate Surrounding Postdoctoral Education
The Office of Postdoctoral Initiatives conducts a survey (postdocSERU) every other year to assess the experiences of postdocs and Monitor the climate surrounding postdoctoral training.
Building Community through Collaboration
OPI collaborates with the UMN Postdoctoral Association (PDA), a postdoc-led organization that exists to improve the quality of the postdoctoral experience and to facilitate the long-term success of University postdocs. Members meet regularly to discuss issues relevant to the postdoc community and to organize community-building events. See PDA Facebook Page.
OPI collaborates with the Graduate School Diversity Office, which leads and coordinates the University’s initiatives in the recruitment, funding, retention, and graduation of a diverse graduate student body and postdoc community. Additionally, this office works closely with other organizations connected to diversity, underrepresented populations, and multiculturalism.
Travel grants for Summer Trainings
The Office of Postdoctoral Initiatives offers three travel grants for postdocs to enhance their professional development and leadership skills, e.g., advanced training in new methods. Applications are available in the fall.
Our office hosts a series of writing events throughout the year that provide postdocs and PhD students with the opportunity to write together in a comfortable, quiet space with light refreshments. Participants set writing goals, and at the event’s conclusion, we debrief in a supportive, affirming environment.
Individualized Career Counseling
We are currently offering limited one-on-one job market/CV counseling appointments as part of a pilot program aimed at expanding postdoc access to career counseling services. To schedule an appointment, email email@example.com.
Professional Development Workshops
OPI co-host and promotes workshops, trainings sponsored by the Graduate School and other campus groups
New Faculty Program
The Office of Postdoctoral Initiatives promotes workshops and trainings listed in the The New Faculty Program (NFP) at the University.
Postdocs are also eligible via the University to participate in trainings sponsored by the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (NCFDD). Topics addressed by NCFDD are wide ranging, including strategies for increasing research productivity, developing a daily writing plan, managing time more effectively, and many others that fit the life course of academic professionals.
Excellence in Advising Award
Advising is a critical area of focus for the University and a key ingredient for a successful postdoc experience. Each year, the Office of Postdoctoral Initiatives recognizes two outstanding faculty members who demonstrate excellence in their advising of Postdoctoral Fellows and Associates.
Establishing a Successful Advisor-Advisee Relationship
We advocate and encourage best practices in advising among faculty and postdocs.
Individual Development Plan
We also encourage all postdocs to develop an Individual Development Plan (IDP). A well-crafted IDP serves as both a planning tool to identify research and career goals, and a structure for communicating them to mentors, advisors, and future employers.
For an example of a postdoctoral IDP, click here.
Funding Opportunities & Resources
- Cancer Related Health Disparities Training Program - NCI - Michele Allen
- Infectious Disease Training in Clinical Investigation - NIAID - David Boulware
- Integrative Training Program in Neuroimaging - NIBIB - Wei Chen
- Developmental Psychopathology - NIMH - Dante Cicchetti
- Musculoskeletal Training Grant - NIAMS - Denis Clohisy
- Regional Postdoctoral Training Grant in Eating Disorders Research - NIMH - Scott Crow
- Training the Next Generation of Chemical Biologists - NIGMS - Mark Distefano
- Training Program in Cardiac Innovation - NHLBI - Samuel Dudley
- Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology & Prevention - NHLBI - Aaron Folsom
- Immunology Training Program - NIAID - Kristin Hogquist
- Training in Lung Science - NHLBI - David Ingbar
- Minnesota Obesity Prevention Training (MnOPT) - NIDDK - Catherine Kotz
- Comorbidity: Substance Use Disorders and Other Psychiatric Conditions - NIDA - Matt Kushner
- Cancer Biology Training Grant - NCI - Carol Lange
- Minnesota Training Program in Virology - NIAID - Louis Mansky
- Comparative Medicine and Pathology Training - OD - Molly McCue
- Training Program in Translational Vision Sciences - NEI - Linda McLoon
- Neuroscience Training in Drug Abuse Research - NIDA - Paul Mermelstein
- Training in PharmacoNeuroImmune Substance Abuse Research - NIDA - Thomas Molitor
- Pre-Faculty Research Training in Pediatric Endocrinology - NIDDK - Antoinette Moran
- Training in Biostatistics for Heart; Lung and Blood Disease Research - NHLBI - Jim Neaton
- Biostatistics in Genetics and Genomics Training Program - NIGMS - Wei Pan
- Stem Cell Biology Training Program - NIGMS - Rita Perlingeiro
- Using Computation to Achieve Breakthroughs in Neuroscience - NIMH - David Redish
- Training for Future Biotechnology Development - NIGMS - Claudia Schmidt-Dannert
- Training Grant in Diabetes; Endocrinology and Metabolism - NIDDK - Elizabeth Seaquist
- Medical Scientist Training Program - NIGMS - Yoji Shimizu
- Translational Pediatric Cancer Epidemiology Research Training Grant - NCI - Logan Spector
- Minnesota Muscle Training Program - NIAMS - David Thomas
- Multidisciplinary training in cardiovascular engineering - NHLBI - Robert Tranquillo
- Hematology Research Training Program - NHLBI - Gregory Vercellotti
- Interdisciplinary Population Health Science Training: Linking Multilevel Forces Across Time - NICHD - John Warren
- Training the Next Generation of Surgeon-Scientists in Pancreatology - NIDDK - Yamamoto Masato
Pivot is a funding search tool that pulls information from nonprofit, for profit, federal, private, national, international and other funders. UMN postdocs are able to use Pivot as a way to conduct targeted, customizable searches for the most relevant funding.
Federal Government Funding Opportunities
For information about funding available through the federal government, please see this February 2020 compendium, organized by the agency that runs the program.