With research culture under the spotlight like never before, we understand that, more than ever, there’s a need to approach supporting postdocs in a way that hasn’t been done before and to deliver change that hasn’t been seen before. Our unique ability to achieve this lies in Prosper’s three pillars: co-creation with employers, democratisation of access and recognition of the pivotal role of Principal Investigators in postdoc career development.
Co-creation with employers
Through working directly with employers, we ensure that Prosper exposes postdocs to a broad range of career opportunities, provides real-world insight into roles beyond academia and offers development opportunities that equip postdocs with the mindsets and competencies to thrive in a range of careers. Our employer partners benefit from the opportunity to learn more about the postdoc talent pool and to help shape this pool for the future. We have co-created a set of 12 career clusters with over 80 employers which we believe represent some of the key areas of opportunity for postdocs and which we use to structure key development interventions.
Democratisation of access
Delivering culture change is impossible without democratising access. Our society is a diverse one, and the postdoc community is no different in its depth and breadth of members, backgrounds and experiences. Our own research has shown that many postdocs want to engage with development activities but whether because of caring responsibilities, lack of managerial support or other barriers, they’ve felt unable to engage with what’s on offer.
Central to how we create Prosper is serious consideration for how we avoid traditional barriers and open up new ways of delivering for postdocs. While the arrival of COVID-19 has brought real challenges for us all, it has also shown us new ways of working and engaging with one another. The lessons we’re learning from this period will go a long way to inform how we ensure multiple access routes to Prosper and its resources.
Recognising the role of Principal Investigators
We acknowledge the vital role of Principal Investigators in empowering postdocs to engage in meaningful career development.
It’s part of Prosper’s role to collaborate with PIs, working with them to develop the resources, approaches and peer support they need to bring out the very best in their postdocs.
One way we’re doing this is through our PI Network, a pan-institution forum encompassing all disciplinary backgrounds where PIs can share and evolve postdoc career development practice. Launched in October 2020, the network is open to all PIs and managers of researchers at the Universities of Liverpool and Manchester and Lancaster University. Since its launch PI Network events have been attended by 120 unique PIs from across the three partner organisations, and topics have covered the impacts of Covid-19, mutual benefits to supporting research staff career development, the PI-postdoc relationship, career conversations and creating inclusive research communities.
Our partners and funder
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