The Postdoc Academy: A National Project for Postdocs

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Why is this project needed?

Postdocs are an essential part of the research enterprise and represent the future of science. However, they don’t always have a large number of institutional resources at their disposal in terms of training and professional development. This project aims to change that aspect by increasing access to these resources, as well as involving postdocs in shaping their own training to achieve career growth and attain professional goals.

How is this project unique?

The only way to know what training postdocs need is to involve them in shaping it. The Postdoc Academy is a new project for postdocs doing just that. Through this project, postdoc feedback and narratives are being incorporated into comprehensive digital and in-person professional development programming, thereby increasing their voice in the process.

What has been done so far?

To date, 10 postdocs have shared their experiences and perspectives on topics such as career planning and work/life resilience, and this will continue over the summer by filming postdocs for the intros/outros of the course. In addition, ~40 postdocs have been a part of online feedback sessions, shaping the content of the course toward its final form.

Who can get involved?

The Postdoc Academy will launch 2 MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) available to postdocs nationwide, with the first available in January 2020. You can participate in these courses when available. In addition, bringing the voice of the postdoctoral community will require the entire scientific community to participate. Below are several ways to do so:

I am a…Action
…current postdocProvide feedback on our content, film and share your stories, attend our local events, enroll in the Postdoc Academy MOOCs (winter 2020), participate in a local learning community (spring 2020)
…University administratorProvide feedback on our content, advertise our resources, join our community of facilitators (spring 2020), adapt and use our learning community resources
…faculty mentor/advisor/PIDownload our mentoring resources, adapt and use our learning community resources, film and share your stories, advertise our resources and encourage your postdocs to participate, join our community of facilitators (spring 2020)
…staff in a professional societyPartner with us to create content, advertise our resources, host our workshops, adapt and use our learning community resources
…employer / member of the biomedical workforcePartner with us to create content, help align with needed job skills

Project logistics:

The project is funded by NIGMS 1R25GM121257-01A1 for a total of $1.8M over five years. Project principal investigators include Dr. Sarah Hokanson (Boston University) and Dr. Bennett Goldberg (Northwestern University) and the team includes members from several institutions including Boston University, Northwestern University, Michigan State University, and University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Contact information:

You can find out more about the project at, follow it on Twitter: @postdocacademy or contact the project manager at You can also listen to a podcast episode on “When science speaks” to hear more about it.

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