Following a competitive application process, 86 postdocs from across the University of Liverpool, Lancaster University and University of Manchester have been invited to join Prosper’s second career development pilot, conditional on the agreement of PIs and funders.

120 postdocs applied to join the cohort and successful candidates were selected based on their ability to demonstrate why joining the pilot at this stage in their careers would benefit them, as well as showing how their specific circumstances and experiences would contribute to the creation of Prosper in a way that is flexible, accessible and appealing to the broadest possible range of postdocs.

Applications were reviewed by a panel of 15 drawn from across the 3 partners and beyond including PIs, representation from employer partners, professional services colleagues including from Diversity and Equality teams, and an external postdoc.

Director of The Academy and panel chair, Dr James Howard, said: “We were delighted by the level of interest and quality of the applications. It was important that the selection process was a robust one that did justice to both applicants and the creation of Prosper. We learnt and built upon our experience of recruiting Cohort 1 to scale up and manage the recruitment process across the 3 partners.”

“We are also pleased by the support shown to successful applicants and their career development by their Principal Investigators and managers.”

Democratisation of access

As a diverse cohort is central to Prosper’s development, minimum targets are in place for representation across pilot cohort for gender, ethnicity and disciplinary background.

For this second stage of the pilot, the 86 invited postdocs comprise of:

  • 62% female, 38% male
  • 65% white, 34% BAME, 1% prefer not to say
  • 45% Biomedical and Biological Sciences, 31% Physical and Environmental Sciences and Engineering, 23% Humanities and Social Sciences

More detailed information on the make-up of this cohort and the selection process will be made available over the coming months via the Prosper blog.

Next steps

A key element of the cohort is a contract extension that provides funding to allow postdocs to fully engage with Prosper alongside their research roles. Negotiations between the Prosper team, Research Support Offices and funders are now in progress, with a view to postdocs joining the cohort by mid-February.

Once the pilot begins, participating postdocs will undertake development activities designed to enable them to explore multiple career pathways. They will gain direct access to Prosper’s 90+ employer partners, as well as dedicated career coaches, to explore their skills and aspirations and how these align with the range of roles and sectors open to them.

The pilot’s development activities are being carefully co-created with a range of employers including multinationals, SMEs, science and technology companies, arts organisations and charities including:

IBM, Ashfield Health, Astra Zeneca, Cancer Research UK, Department for Work & Pensions, Elanco, Environment Agency, F-Star Therapeutics, GlaxoSmithKline, Inkpath, Koura Global, LettUs Grow, National Museums Liverpool, Nucleus Global, Pearson VUE, Pets at Home, Tate, The Reader, Red Tractor, Royal Society of Arts, Transport for Greater Manchester and Creative Industries Federation.

For more information about Prosper and the pilot, visit their webpagesget in touch with the team or follow them on Twitter.