Postdoc Training Program

Our training program provides expanded resources and learning venues for our Postdocs. While research is the core of Postdoc training, the Whitehead Institute acknowledges that other skills are also required for individual success in science. To address these needs, the Whitehead Postdoc Training Program provides the opportunity for all Whitehead postdocs to obtain and practice skills necessary for success inside and outside the laboratory. These skills include research ethics, presenting one's work to a general scientific audience, and the ability to enrich and promote oneself through travel to external workshops and conferences. The Training Program also promotes professional development by funding and promoting career development seminars, workshops on applications and funding issues, awareness of alternative science careers, examination of the mentor/postdoc relationship, discussion of issues relevant to women and families, and networking through formal and informal social events.

Current activities:

  • Ethics in Science and Research training (yearly)
  • Whitehead Institute retreat (yearly)
  • Whitehead Institute forum (weekly)
  • MIT Biology colloquium (weekly)
  • Educational awards through Whitehead Postdoc Association
  • Semi-annual career development seminars
  • MIT sponsored Postdoc Career Seminars (yearly)
  • Internal talks on topics in bioinformatics and imaging
  • Alternative careers in science (given by prominent WI alumni)
  • Teaching skills (opportunity exist at MIT and other Boston institutions

Training under consideration:

  • Application skills - how to apply for grants
  • Interview skills
  • Negotiation skills
  • Presentation skills
  • Scientific/grant writing skills
  • Mentoring skills
  • Initiation of new lab practices
  • Intellectual property awareness
  • Postdoc Symposium

Developing a productive mentor/postdoc relationship:

  • Establish expectations and project goals
  • Establish a reasonable time frame for milestones
  • Set up annual evaluations with advisor
  • Seek out co-mentors available within and outside the WI community

Some excellent professional development articles on the web:

  • Career Development Topics on ScienceCareers.org: This site is a treasure trove of great articles on conflict management, negotiation, budget management (personal finance as well as managing a lab budget) and beyond. Dig into their archives and be ready to read!

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