Size - we had two large cohorts as we were testing and co-creating Prosper with them and it was important to have a representative sample of postdocs. Cohort 1 was 53 postdocs in size from the University of Liverpool, cohort 2 was 75 postdocs from across Lancaster University, the University of Manchester and the University of Liverpool. Cohort size was also in part determined by the expense of buying-out 0.1 FTE of each postdocs time, which was part of our funding from Research England.
Duration - as we were co-creating Prosper with both of our pilot postdoc cohorts we needed to have a long cohort duration of 12 months per cohort, whilst we co-created, tested and reiterated. For cohort 2 we required each cohort member to have a minimum of 6 months left on their contract at the cohort starting date to be eligible.
Frequency - was set by the duration of our funding, so we ran two cohorts, both of 12 months duration, which overlapped by around 1 month.
Eligibility - As our postdocs had their time for participation "bought out" and we had a requirement that they were able to participate for sufficient time to provide feedback and help us co-create Prosper, thus we set some very specific eligibility criteria. The criteria we used was as follows; ‘All postdocs who wish to apply must meet all of the following criteria:
- Are employed by the University of Liverpool, University of Manchester or Lancaster University on a research-only contract.
- Have a contract that lasts until at least 1 September 2022 (~ 6 months after the cohort start date) or beyond
- Are not employed on independent or tenure track fellowships.’
As we were co-creating Prosper with the pilot cohorts if any cohort members circumstances changed during the cohort, for example got an independent fellowship, or became employed on a teaching-only contract, we allowed them to continue on the cohort if they wished to do so.
Additional activity for your non-cohort postdocs? – As we were closely evaluating the impact of Prosper on the cohort postdocs we offered only attendance at Prosper sessions at conferences and other externally organised event to non-cohort postdocs
What we stipulated as compulsory – Full details are in the participant agreement
- Career coaching sessions (group and 1:1)
- Welcome from Prosper
- Introduction to journaling workshop
- Regular journal input
- Join the pilot’s dedicated Slack workspace
- At least quarterly input into some Prosper events
- Commitment to provide feedback during and after the end of the pilot
- Agreement to use feedback, and expectation to act as a Prosper advocate.