Prosper: Enhancing first-time postdoctoral career development and success

‘Prosper’ is a project that will develop researchers – particularly early postdoctoral talent – with the broader capabilities, attributes and mindset needed to thrive in multiple careers. It is funded by Research England through it's first ever RED Fund award, worth £4.4m, to the University of Liverpool.

The project aligns with the People Strand of the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy, and will tackle equality, diversity and inclusivity issues that usually present barriers to training for postdoctoral researchers. 

An innovative approach by The Academy

Prosper presents fresh thinking in designing a new approach to the support and development of postdoc careers. We at The Academy will work with a huge range of employers, across all areas of the UK economy, to really understand & collaboratively develop new ways of developing the skills, attributes and mindset of postdocs - drawing into the light the potential of this relatively untapped workforce. Principal Investigators (PIs) have a huge role to play in supporting and developing postdocs for multiple career paths, but face significant challenges and constraints of their own - Prosper will aim to develop and support PIs in parallel to postdocs, enhancing the environment for both. Our aim is ambitious but critical - to democratise development for Postdocs, irrespective of discipline, background or personal circumstances. High quality development should be available to all postdocs, in flexible and innovative forms, so all have an equal chance to succeed.

Prosper phases and partners

The Prosper model will be developed and piloted in two phases. Phase One will see the development of a series of tools, resources and effective practice case studies open to all postdoctoral researchers regardless of contract length, and which is designed to fit within the current recommended time for development in the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers. Phase Two will build on Phase One to deliver structured, targeted development interventions for identified cohorts of postdoctoral researchers from partner universities, Lancaster and Manchester.

On completion of the project, we intend to roll out the model across universities in the N8 Research Partnership to ensure its sustainability.

Follow @LivUniAcademy and @LivResearcher #LivUniProsper to keep up to date on news about Prosper.

The distinctiveness of Prosper is that we will develop it in conjunction with employers, principal investigators, funders, other HEIs and postgraduate researchers, with a range of partners across universities, business, and local government having committed to sharing their expertise in developing...high performing technical and business leaders.

Professor Anthony Hollander, PVC for Research & Impact at the University of Liverpool
Research England Logo

Research England

Find out about Research England, a council within UK Research and Innovation in relation to university research and knowledge exchange.