The online format allowed for greater accessibility for postdocs as travel and lodging costs were removed. I also appreciated that the conference platform allowed for attendees to easily download copies of posters that were presented as well as resources and materials provided by presenters.
Below, I share some of the publicly available resources and tools highlighted during the conference in the hopes they are valuable to my readers.
This is only a subset of resources and opportunities shared at the NPA Annual Conference. Recordings of all talks/sessions will be available to those who attended via the meeting platform soon.
I moderated a panel, Policy Career Paths for Postdocs and the Things I Wish I Knew
AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships, Providing opportunities for outstanding scientists and engineers to learn first-hand about federal policymaking while using their knowledge and skills to address today’s most pressing societal challenges.
The List of SciPol Fellowships, a crowd-sourced list of science & technology policy opportunities through member societies, the federal government, state governments, foundations/non-profits, & more
Zintellect, Access hundreds of research internships, fellowships, and scholarships funded by the government and private sector organizations.
Powered by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) & Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU)
Science Policy Fellowships for Non-US Citizens, a crowd-sourced list of science policy fellowships available to non-us citizens
An innovative program from the University of California, Irvine GPS-STEM in collaboration with the Journal of Science Policy & Governance, Union of Concerned Scientists, & Ridge 2 Reef Program.
This group offers an online course in science policy and advocacy for STEM scientists (PhD students & postdocs) with a focus on learning basic skills and concepts, as well as identifying concrete ways to transition into careers in these areas.
They will be offering the program online, open to any interested trainee, starting July 15, 2021.
Enroll in the Science Policy & Advocacy for STEM Scientists Certificate Program 2021 by June 1st via this Google Form.
Stony Brook University PhD Career Ladder Program (PCLP)
A peer-led career mentoring program for grad students and postdocs pursuing any career pathway.
PCLP helps participants set aside a few hours each week to develop a framework for their job search. Biweekly meetings guide participants “up the ladder” of career exploration from self-assessment to career research and skill identification, to informational interviewing, to resume crafting.
The creators of PCLP have developed a Toolkit to assist individuals seeking to start a PCLP Group at their institutions.
The L-MAP, Leadership and Management in Action Program, is a new active-learning training program for graduate students and postdocs in the biosciences to build a leadership, management, and inclusive teamwork skillset. Trainees work in teams on experiential case studies and activities in the L-MAP curriculum, led by a facilitator with expertise in leadership training.
The WashU team has made their L-MAP Curriculum publicly available via a creative commons license and will be hosting a virtual Train-the-Trainer workshop on May 10th, 10 AM - 12 PM Central, to assist individuals wanting to launch the program at their institutions. You can register to attend the workshop when downloading the curriculum at the link, below.
Volunteering with the NPA is a great way for postdocs to expand their leadership and teamwork skills and contribute to improving the postdoctoral experience. You can write about topics or experiences that impact the postdoctoral community through The POSTDOCket, help the NPA in its advocacy efforts on behalf of postdocs, assist in the development and dissemination of resources for postdocs and postdoc offices, and more.
It is so important for postdocs to get involved in things beyond their lab/work. I know writing for The POSTDOCket and taking on leadership positions in my postdoctoral association was critical in helping me develop into who I am today as well as transition into my current role in postdoctoral affairs.
As a postdoctoral affairs professional, the data the NPA collects and reports on postdoc policies, benefits, demographics, and postdoc office resources every few years is critical advocating for increased institutional resources to support postdoc affairs. In the most recent report, the NPA Institutional Policy Survey Taskforce and Data Analysis Team show trends in various metrics collected in the survey over time (from 2013, 2016, & 2019). It is nice to see progress is being made on a variety of fronts to increase postdoc & postdoc office support. More work is still needed, though, especially around the fact that the mode size of a postdoc office remains one individual.