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Prosper in context

  • It requires no subscription or use fees
  • It's been developed specifically for postdocs
  • It's been developed for postdocs from all disciplines
  • It's career direction neutral, postdocs don’t have to have a fixed idea of where they’d like their career to go
  • It's co-created with employers, Principal Investigators (PI) and postdocs

Prosper was funded by Research England to create a new approach to postdoc career development. Prosper was always intended to become a sustainable, freely accessible model of postdoc career development for all institutions across the sector to use.

Prosper also:

  • Established a parallel PI network for enhanced collaboration and knowledge sharing.
  • Incorporated collaboration among multiple Higher Education Institutes (HEIs), facilitating the development and trial of the model simultaneously across three institutions.
  • Engaged research staff and organisational developers from various institutions through personalised interactions such as one-to-one chats, focus groups, and talks. This approach allowed for a thorough understanding of their specific needs and enabled tailored resource development.

  • Designed with flexibility in mind, the model addresses the challenges posed by fixed session locations and times, accommodating the diverse and geographically dispersed staff.
  • Comprises not only a collection of resources but also an integrated approach, complemented by additional activities aimed at supporting the professional development of postdocs.

Gap analysis: postdoc focused career development

To the best of our knowledge there is no postdoc career development provision which does exactly what Prosper does. There is a great range of postdoc career development activity going on globally but we have found that it typically falls under one (or more) of the following categories:

  1. Cost associated – not free to the user
  2. Not developed specifically for postdocs
  3. Not tried and tested (or unclear if it has been)
  4. Created for only a specific discipline or broad disciplinary area
  5. Created for either those wishing to pursue an academic or expressly non-academic career
  6. Available at only the host/originator institution
  7. Networks or schemes that have a focus other than just postdoc career development

Identified gaps

The gaps we identified in existing postdoc career development provision were:

  • Inclusion of the PI/managers of researchers
  • Engagement with employers
  • Applicable to all disciplines
  • Well-being/work-life balance
  • Postdoc professional identity
  • Barriers and considerations of equality, diversity and inclusion beyond gender

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