How to choose your mode of delivery

Here we outline possible ways to deliver Prosper to help shape your thinking as you plan how you’ll use Prosper at your institution. We include practical information about the level of support and resource required for different modes, factors to consider when choosing your approach, and our own recommendations. Finally, we’ve included an example of how we ran a cohort and some case studies for inspiration.

Consider your mode of delivery

Below we have outlined three possible levels of delivery and participation. These are simply starting point examples, not intended to be prescriptive or followed rigidly as there is a continuum of ways you can use Prosper.

Mode 1: No cohort, self-directed postdoc participants

Prosper portal and resource promoted across your Institution and signposted across all relevant channels.

  • Prosper portal with comprehensive self-guided resources for postdocs. 
  • Prosper portal with comprehensive self-guided resources for PIs (including how to support postdocs in using Prosper). 
  • Communications resources to promote Prosper. 
  • Details of all providers commissioned who have run Prosper sessions during the pilot.
  • Comprehensive set of resources to support institutional staff responsible for postdoc career development to run Prosper sessions. (All our sessions are available asynchronously for a postdoc to follow in a self-guided way but in addition for some it will be beneficial for resources to be used as part of an interactive session if an Institution chooses). 
  • Staff effort to promote and embed Prosper offering across Institution. 
  • Senior leadership input to advocate for Prosper within Institution as part of culture change/ researcher development piece

Resource estimation: Mode 1

We appreciate you may already do some of the things itemised in our estimated resource but we have included them for completeness.   

Mode 2: Coordinated communications, self-directed participants

All postdocs at your Institution are prompted by emails to guide themselves through the Prosper resources, as selected by you. 

All of mode 1 plus… 

  • In this option institution also makes use of resources available in the Institutions section and integrates this into its development offering.  

All of mode 1 plus…

  • Staff effort to analyse current local Institutional offering and identify were Prosper could plug gaps and add value. 
  • Staff effort to run sessions using Prosper resources. The portal contains how to guides as well as resources for staff delivering postdoc career development to use. Can be run as ‘off-the-shelf’ for less institutional effort or could be tailored.   
  • Running live employer and/or postdoc ‘alumni’ panel 
  • Optional buddy scheme to provide enhanced support for postdocs undertaking largely self-guided activity. See the how to guide here

Resource estimation: Mode 2

You may wish to theme your prompt emails across the year, either around a specific skillset, like leadership, or around the Reflect, Explore and Act sections of the portal. You could think of these ‘chunks’ as a ‘sprint’, for example, you could have a 3-month sprint around Reflect, sending prompt emails during this time highlighting different aspects or resources in Reflect. 

Mode 3: Facilitated participants (possibly as a cohort), facilitated activities

Facilitated programme of activities to support a group of postdocs (a cohort) to explore the Prosper resources.  

All of mode 1 and 2 plus…

All of mode 1 and 2 plus…

  • Level of effort involved in the selection of postdocs could be flexed from a light touch sign-up to a requirement to submit motivational statements.
  • Financial resource needed if professional career coaching is desired (expect somewhere around £100 to 150 + VAT per coaching hour, this can be group coaching, typically 5 to 10 postdocs per group). 
  • This option is very scalable up or down depending on local resources. 

Resource estimation: Mode 3

We appreciate you may already do some of the things itemised in our estimated resource but we have included them for completeness.   

Details of specific Prosper resources available

FormatDescriptionAudience
Self-directed career development Career development resources on PortalPostdoc
How to guidesGuides on all aspects of how to use Prosper, getting institutional buy-in, and how to run specific sessions, including employer engagement and PI network sessions - get buy-in from PIs and working with PIs.Postdoc, MoR/PIs and others 
Coordinated Buddy groups Organised peer groups to support career development. Postdoc 
Career coachingCareer development of postdocs supported either by qualified career coaches or peer-group guidedPostdoc 
Online synchronous facilitatedHow to guides for running career development sessions online, live.Postdoc 
Online asynchronous See all resources provided in the learning and development section Postdoc 
Face-to-face facilitated How to guides for running career development sessions live, in personPostdoc 

Comparison of modes of delivery

Trade-offs: The following are pros and cons for each approach

Mode 1
no-cohort, self-directed
Mode 2
Coordinated coms, self-directed
Mode 3
Facilitated participants and activities
Pros- Low cost
- Low effort
- Low resource
- Low to moderate cost and resource 
- Moderate effort 
- Themes can be selected to fit with local needs 
- Postdoc peer support can be built-in
- Cohort postdocs are more motivated/committed 
- Builds a sense of community 
- Straight forward to evaluate  
- Can form part of the minimum 10 days per year of career development set out in the Concordat 
- Robust method of involving/targeting under represented minorities  
Cons- Difficult to evaluate or measure impact 
- Does not necessarily address postdoc isolation/build a sense of community 
- Relies solely on self-motivation of individual postdocs 
- Little to no added local institutional ‘flavour’
- Tough to get postdoc buy-in/commitment to ad-hoc offering 
- Achieving desired evaluation outcomes can be difficult with low/moderate levels of engagement 
- Highest level of cost, effort and resource required 
- Can get push-back regarding time spent on career development 

Identify potential running costs

Please note all prices are estimates, written in Great British Pounds (GBP) in 2022.

Commissioning professional external career coaches to support your Prosper offering, expect this to cost in the region of £100 to 150 per hour plus VAT (not all suppliers are VAT registered). If offering career coaching in person, factor in the additional travel costs and expenses. Note that Prosper successfully offered career coaching all delivered virtually. For details on how to arrange career coaching see this page.

Commissioning specialist suppliers to deliver or facilitate sessions on a specific topic or skill vary a lot in price. In general, the more of their time you want, the more expensive the session. This can be in terms of their preparation time if you want a very bespoke session, not one of their off-the-shelf options, or if you want them to create a resource for you. If you want the session to be delivered in person factor in the additional travel costs and expenses. In very general terms, we’ve found that if you want a live, virtual session, for a postdoc audience of around 25 people, not too niche/bespoke, 60 to 90 minutes long, you’ll be paying around £1000 + VAT. This is a very rough guide as some charge much more, some less. For more information see the how to commission suppliers page.

Factors to consider before choosing an approach

There are a variety of approaches you may wish to consider when selecting your mode of delivery:

  • Consult with your stakeholders: link into your local Concordat strategy steering group (and any/all other relevant strategy groups) – in addition to engaging with your relevant strategy groups for researcher development you could hold focus group/s or have a consultation with postdocs, managers of researchers/PIs and any other interested parties at your institution to determine their needs and enthusiasm for postdoc career development
  • Consider the resources available at your institution: in terms of both person time to arrange and deliver Prosper postdoc career development and funds available for things like career coaching or for commissioning bespoke sessions 
  • Review current postdoc career development offer: which gaps can you use Prosper to fill? 
  • Define your goals: What do you want to achieve at your institution for postdoc career development? Do you want to use this offer as a way to enhance the attractiveness of postdoc appointments at your institution? Or as a route to improve or enhance the culture at your intuition? Do you want to use Prosper as a way to keep your postdoc ‘alumni’ engaged with your institution? And/or to make your managers of researchers/PIs/mid-career researchers feel included in the career development offering for postdocs? 

Recommendations

  • Do use the process of picking a mode of participation as a way to gain local advocacy and supporters. You’re making Prosper yours, tailoring it to the needs of your institution 
  • Do lean into local pockets of enthusiasm for Prosper/postdoc career development 
  • Do try to convert enthusiasm for Prosper into action or practical resource 
  • Do think about what career development you can offer or open up to all of your postdocs, not just those in your cohort or ‘sprint’ group 
  • Do consider ways to ‘group’ postdocs interested in their career development together. As postdocs have no annual set ‘start’ or ‘end’ dates like student cohorts this can require some effort, hence we suggest using a cohort model 
  • Don’t overlook the benefits of having a social or peer-peer element on the overall experience and career development outcomes 
  • Don’t be discouraged by ‘not specialist enough for me/my discipline’ opinions you may encounter from postdocs/mangers of researchers/other development staff 

Case studies

Do let us know how you are delivering Prosper, we’d love to share this as a case study

University of Manchester micro case study

The University of Manchester used some Prosper content and developed some of our ideas as part of the short module they created. CVs for researchers CVs for Researchers - Overview | Rise 360 (articulate.com) 

University of Liverpool micro case study

The University of Liverpool have opened up the buddy scheme https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/researcher/uol-rsa/buddy-scheme/ initially trialled by Prosper to all postdocs. They are also adapting it to use with PGRs.

See how Prosper ran its two pilot cohortsBlue Arrow rightGo to
Refine image Refine Cross
Filter by: Unsure what to search for? Click here
130 minutes
Close
Flash badge View notice(s)