Mapping Your Goals

Individual development planning is often used in organizations and private industry to help employees articulate and accomplish work-related goals. Nationally, many academic and professional organizations and institutions have begun using Individual Development Plans (IDPs) to promote a process of self-reflection, assessment, and goal-setting for graduate students and postdocs. The National Institutes of Health consider IDPs so valuable for student training and career development that NIH has now established reporting requirements around IDPs for funded graduate students and postdocs.

For graduate students and postdocs, an IDP is a dynamic self-evaluation and career exploration tool that can be used for setting goals for research projects, skills development, and career planning. It is your private written list of objectives mapped to a timeline.

Although the IDP is authored, reviewed, and revised by you, it can also serve as a framework for discussion between you and your faculty advisors. The IDP is most valuable when you work with your mentors to make full use of its potential as a research agenda and career development tool, and when you update it annually (or more often) to reflect accomplishments and changes in your career and research objectives.

Tools to Assist in Individual Development Planning

Berkeley and the IDP

At Berkeley, several offices and programs already promote the use of IDPs. Drawing on these experiences, a UC Berkeley IDP Working Group has produced recommended practices for those who must comply with the NIH mandate, as well as for all others who want to use the power of planning that an IDP makes possible.

Review the Berkeley IDP Recommended Practices (PDF).