About Prosper

Developed through four years of collaboration and co-creation with employers, Higher Education Institutions, Principal Investigators, and postdocs themselves. Learn more about the development of Prosper from our Prosper blog.

Prosper is tried and tested. From 2021-23 we piloted a range of development interventions and approaches, working with over 120 postdocs across two pilot cohorts, drawn from across the University of Liverpool, University of Manchester and Lancaster University – evaluating their impact along the way. Our cohorts were carefully selected to meet the principles of EDI, and reflect the diversity of the UK postdoc community in terms of gender, ethnicity, and disciplinary area.

Collaboration with employers, Principal Investigators, the UK HE sector and research funders ensures that Prosper is fit for purpose and adaptable to the diverse needs of the UK postdoc community.

Employers

We’ve worked closely with over 100 employer partners to shape and inform our resources, and ensure Prosper’s relevance to the opportunities and demands of the wider economic landscape.

Principal Investigators

Through our PI Network and related activities, we have developed resources to equip them with the tools they need to optimise their own support of the postdocs they manage.

Higher Education Institutions

Prosper is adaptable to the diverse needs of the UK postdoc community and can be flexed to meet local needs and resources. If you’re keen to get your organisation involved, do get in touch.

“It’s great to see just how far Prosper has come since its inception. All the co-creation, testing and refining has culminated in a genuinely unique offering in the postdoc career development space – a rich and comprehensive set of resources designed for postdocs as postdocs, crafted in close collaboration with our partner institutions, the wider sector, employers, and of course postdocs themselves.”

Professor Anthony Hollander, PVC for Research & Impact, University of Liverpool

This portal draws together all of the outputs from our two pilot cohorts, alongside our work with employers and Principal Investigators.

In addition to resources for postdocs and Principal Investigators, our portal includes additional materials and guidance for Higher Education Institutions (HEI), designed to enable organisations to use Prosper in a flexible way, according to their varying needs and internal resources.

Prosper was developed by the University of Liverpool, working alongside our partners at the University of Manchester and Lancaster University, and is funded by the Research England development fund.

The Prosper Journey

Prosper was launched in October 2019. In June 2020, we launched our initial set of development resources via a prototype Prosper portal. These resources were organised around the three key themes of “Reflect”, “Explore” and “Act” and included a suite of curated self-reflection and diagnostic tools, case studies from former postdocs, PIs and employers and resources which supported postdocs to identify their skills and to showcase these to a range of employers.

In March 2021, following an extensive recruitment and selection process, 53 University of Liverpool postdocs joined the first year-long Prosper Pilot. Participants gained access to a range of additional resources and initiatives, including individual and group coaching, commissioned development interventions across the key themes of “leadership”, “creativity” and “communication” and insights into the broad range of career opportunities beyond academia curated around a set of “career clusters”.

Read more about the experiences of our first cohort in the evaluation report and in this brochure with testimonials from our postdocs.

In February 2022, Prosper went multi-institutional. We launched the second Prosper pilot, comprising 75 postdocs from the Universities of Liverpool, Manchester and Lancaster. During the first few months the Prosper team also crunched the numbers and feedback from our first pilot, in order to produce a comprehensive and rigorous evaluation of its impact.

The lessons learned from our first pilot played a critical role in shaping the contents and resources on offer in our second – it is over the course of this second pilot that our forthcoming national public offering took its current shape. The second pilot came to a successful close in February 2023.

You can gain an insight into our second cohort in this brochure and our second evaluation report.

In the first half of 2023 our time was spent evaluating the impact of our second pilot cohort, working with several HEI partners to support early use of Prosper and drawing together all of our learning and feedback to create the new Prosper portal with web design agency Feel Created.

Ahead of launching the Prosper approach, we hosted a Prosper Showcase event in May 2023, bringing together the myriad of stakeholders that have helped co-create Prosper to celebrate the project’s achievements and showcase the new portal and the future plans for use. The Prosper portal went live in summer 2023, accessible to all and full of easily-searchable content and resources, drawing on all of our work from our pilots, our employer engagement, work with PIs, and the wider sector.

We are always looking to improve the Prosper approach in order to be as useful as possible to our audiences. If you would like to get involved or have feedback for us, please get in touch please get in touch prosper.postdoc@liverpool.ac.uk

Prosper would not have been possible without the funding, input and contribution of a lot of people. We’d like to take the opportunity to thank them.

To discover more about our cohorts and the Prosper journey watch our collection of videos.

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