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San Diego State University

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Individual Development Plans for NIH-Supported Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Researchers Policy Statement

San Diego State University (SDSU) in compliance with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) adopts this policy to support graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in the achievement of their career goals. The University supports and encourages career mentoring best practices, which includes having a trainee construct an Individual Development Plan (IDP).

Reason for the Policy

A Working Group of the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director (ACD) recently completed a study of the future of the biomedical research workforce in the United States ( The Working Group made recommendations to the ACD about funding and training of graduate students and postdoctoral researchers to attract and retain the best and most diverse scientists, engineers and physicians from around the world. Following these recommendations, we call for Individual Development Plans (IDPs) for all NIH-supported graduate students and/or postdoctoral researchers.

Applicability of the Policy

This policy applies to all NIH-supported graduate students and postdoctoral trainees at the University.

Policy Elaboration

NIH encourages funded institutions to have trainees develop Individual Development Plans (IDPs) as of October 2014. Furthermore, the grantee institutes are to report the implementation and use of IDPs on grant progress reports and document that IDPs are used to manage the training for these individuals (NOT – OD – 13 – 093).

It is recommended that all NIH–supported trainees/protégés prepare an IDP using My IDP at the AAAS and meet with their mentor to discuss how the goals of the IDP will be integrated into the training plan. Trainers / mentors should encourage trainees to prepare and utilize an IDP for the trainee/protégé and meet with the trainee/protégé to discuss the IDP in the context of the ongoing training program.            


Questions related to the individual career development plan policy should be directed to the Vice President for Research / Dean of the Graduate School.


Effective Date

October 2014

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