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Prosper: new postdoc career development resource launches this summer

27 May 2021

Prosper: unlocking postdoc career potential

Prosper

This summer sees the launch of Prosper at our University, a career development approach aimed at preparing postdocs for the wide range of careers available, both within and beyond academia. Working directly with employers, Prosper gives postdocs the chance to expand how they view themselves and the opportunities available. Our goal is to open up the huge talent pool that exists within the postdoc community, to the benefit of postdocs themselves, Principal Investigators and employers.

Built around three pillars of co-creation, democratisation of access and recognising the role of PIs in postdoc development, Prosper is a collaboration between the University of Liverpool, The University of Manchester and Lancaster University, and is funded by the UKRI RED fund.  It will be opened up to universities across the UK in 2023.

The Prosper portal

The Prosper portal hosts a suite of resources for both postdocs and PIs. Postdocs can find tools to explore their skills, attributes and interests, information on how to translate these to multiple career pathways, plus former postdoc case studies and employer insights. Resources dedicated to PIs and managers of researchers include PI case studies, guidance on having effective career conversations with postdocs, plus information from previous Prosper PI networks.

Early opportunities to engage with Prosper

For postdocs

Before the launch of the Prosper portal, University of Manchester postdocs have special access to two Prosper sessions as part of the University of Liverpool’s annual Making an Impact researcher development programme.

On Monday, 7 June, the Prosper team will showcase the portal and its resources, highlighting key features and how postdocs and PIs can make the most of this growing collection of tools, case studies, best practice advice and more.

This showcase is followed on Tuesday, 8 June by ‘Where can your postdoc take you?'. This panel discussion brings together former postdocs from a range of disciplinary backgrounds to discuss their moves beyond academia. They discuss how they navigated the move, found and secured their current roles and give a flavour of their day-to-day work life.

For PIs

The Prosper PI network is now open to all University of Manchester PIs and managers of researchers.

The next meeting will take place in June and will offer a specially commissioned session from an external facilitator that explores how PIs and managers can approach career conversations with their postdocs.

The PI network was established to put PIs and managers of researchers at the centre of championing postdocs and driving change in how we approach their career development.  It offers the chance to shape Prosper, network with colleagues across the disciplinary range at the three Prosper partner institutions and share experiences, challenges and best practice.

On 5 July 2021, postdocs and PIs and managers of researchers will be invited to complete a short survey. These surveys will allow the Prosper team to better understand current practices and attitudes towards postdoc career development, shaping the evolution of Prosper and its offering.

Postdoc career development pilot

In September this year, recruitment will open for 80 postdocs from the three Prosper partner institutions to apply to join our career development pilot. Building on stage one of the pilot now underway at The University of Liverpool, this second stage is a unique opportunity. Co-created with 80 employer partners, it has been designed to enable postdoc to explore multiple career pathways, benefit from dedicated career coaching and direct access to employers. Postdocs’ time to engage with the pilot will be facilitated by a 10% contract extension funded by Prosper. 

Applications will be open between Wednesday, 1 and Friday 17 September, with details of how to apply coming in mid-August.