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How to close a cohort and beyond 

Marking the end of the cohort with a couple of specific events can benefit how you run the next cohort at your institution as well as the outgoing cohort members. 

Running a celebratory end of cohort event, recapping the main themes covered and the overall career development growth made can build goodwill and re-emphasise the sense of community the cohort created. If you’re planning on longitudinal evaluation building this goodwill will really help. It’s a great opportunity to show stakeholders, or prospective advocates, the benefit of your Prosper career development offering. Lastly, it can be used to recruit ambassadors for Prosper to benefit your next cohort/s. 

Organising an event to address how the outgoing cohort members will maintain a focus on their own self-directed career development is beneficial. This session can be used to get participants to reflect on their career development as a whole, what area they wish to focus on going forward and how they’ll do this practically. Sharing their learning, plans and specific actions with others as part of the session can help inspire action and promote accountability.  

How we did it

Several activities marked the end of each of our two pilot cohorts:

A development session on how the postdocs will continue to keep a spotlight on their career development after the cohort end 

We ran a session focussed on practical things the postdocs can do to maintain their momentum around their career development once the cohort has ended. We ran this session virtually (first cohort) and in-person (second cohort) for a duration of around 3 hours, including breaks.

In the event participants initially reflected on their Prosper career development, then prompted them to consider how they’d grown and challenged their career development preconceptions. They were invited to revisit a self-assessment tool and reflect on the results.

Lastly, the were urged to plan for the future. They were asked to consider how they could use organisational processes, such as annual performance reviews, to prompt and benefit their personal career development. Tips on how to get ‘unstuck’ when they feel like they aren’t making progress in their career development and not feeling overwhelmed were covered.

Participants were asked to set personal specific actions for themselves for the next six months, one year and five years. Throughout the session were breaks for discussion and participants to share their experiences, key takeaways and plans

A focus on evaluation and testimonials, including collecting ongoing contact details 

Cohort members were issued an end of cohort survey, in which we asked for a future email address for longitudinal evaluation. For details please see the evaluation page. We collected written and video testimonials from cohort postdocs, for details please see [Link needed communication doc?]. Before the end of the cohort we also encouraged postdocs to join the Prosper LinkedIn group as another way to maintain contact for longitudinal evaluation. The requirement for longitudinal feedback was specified in our funding from Research England and was included in the cohort participant agreement.

A celebratory end of cohort event 

We organised a one-hour long, virtual, celebratory event to mark the end of each of our pilot cohorts. These events were recorded so those unable to attend could access the session at a later date. A range of stakeholders were invited to join these events; postdoc cohort members, PIs/line managers of cohort postdocs, funders, members of academic staff with an interest or remit in this area, institutional senior leadership, members of the project’s external advisory board, and the cohorts career coaches.  

The event was structured as follows; 

  1. House-keeping and welcome (3 mins).
  1. Brief scene setting overview of your Prosper cohort. Ideally delivered by someone relatively senior who championed Prosper at your institution (5 mins max). 
  1. Video highlighting what was offered during the cohort and testimonials from cohort postdocs (5 to 7 mins). 
  1. Live case study, four cohort members give their personal stories of their career development during their time on the cohort (5 mins each, 20 mins total). 
  1. Discussion in small groups/breakout rooms, question posed to the audience to discuss ‘What has Prosper meant to you?’ (10 mins) Additional prompt questions for facilitator if necessary; What have you enjoyed about Prosper? What have you learnt? What made you join/get involved with Prosper? How do you feel currently about the project? What has stood out for you as being extra useful to career development? 
  1. Messages for the future from the career coaches (pre-recorded video) (2-3 mins). 
  1. Closing thoughts and final calls to action. Covering (a) their reflections on the event (b) thanks to the postdoc cohort and all stakeholders who’ve contributed (c) Good luck and stay in touch, keep visiting the portal, offering feedback, stay in touch on LinkedIn and twitter as well as via email (5 to 7 mins). 



  • Have an event to celebrate the end of your cohort and get your outgoing postdocs and stakeholders together  
  • Use the end of cohort event to collect testimonials or recruit Prosper ambassadors for your next cohort 
  • Advertise any calls to action you have for the outgoing cohort 
  • Hold a session focussed on how to maintain your own self-directed career development for the outgoing cohort 


  • Forget about evaluation, sharing how running your cohort went and any modifications you’ll make in a case study
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