Manager and mentor
Managers of researchers can act as ‘gatekeepers’ of a postdoc’s time and buy-in from managers can make or break postdoc career development opportunities (Charlwood and McBride 2020; Watts et al. 2019).
Managers of researchers may want to support their postdocs...
Universities, funders, postdocs and managers of researchers themselves recognise the role that managers play in postdoc career development and mentoring (Baas et al. 2020; LERU 2018; Menard and Shinton 2022; UKRI 2023; Watts et al. 2019).
Many managers of researchers are interested in and seek out management and career development training opportunities, recognising their own mixed levels of knowledge and ability (Baas et al. 2020; Charlwood and McBride 2020; Loissel 2019; Watts et al. 2019).
...but they aren’t always given the support to do so...
Yet support for managers of researchers is sometimes absent, inconsistent or inadequate, and the time taken to develop a principal investigator’s own abilities is weighed against the competing demands on their time (Charlwood and McBride 2020).
Managers of researchers are rarely trained to be managers and don’t always have the knowledge of careers beyond academia that postdocs may need (Baker 2020; Kwok 2018; Loissel 2019).
...and interests don’t always align
The result is that postdocs may feel that their managers are not interested in providing them with career support (Pain 2018).
Whilst this isn’t the case for many managers of researchers, some do not reciprocate the loyalty and commitment they expect of their postdocs and others may even feel that it's in the interest of their research to keep the best postdocs they have for as long as they can (Herschberg 2018; Woolston 2020).
Prosper supports managers
“It’s important to recognise that a person that is happy and feels engaged with their position will deliver a better job, so I do think that experiments are probably going to run better if they feel motivated and they feel they are developing.”
Dr Elizabete Carmo-Silva, Senior Lecturer and Group Leader, Lancaster University.
“When I left for IBM the funder of my Institute, the BBSRC, saw it really positively because now the Institute had an industrial collaborator.”