University of Southern California USC

Developing Core Competencies

Discipline-specific conceptual knowledge and research skill development

  • Postdocs will work under the guidance of their advisors and with assistance from other senior researchers and faculty collaborators to develop their scientific and technical skills.
  • Faculty advisors will meet regularly with postdocs to discuss their progress on research projects and to identify and resolve any difficulties carrying out their work.

Career planning and professional development

  • The USC Office of Postdoctoral Affairs is partnering with the USC Mellon Mentoring Forum to sponsor mentoring events and workshops.
  • Postdocs are encouraged to create an Individual Development Plan which identifies their professional needs and career objectives, similar to the exemplar developed by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). This is intended to be a ‘living document’ that is revised as appropriate in consultation with the scholar’s mentor.
  • Faculty advisors will work with postdocs to design an individual development plan describing their research, training, and career goals as well as the approaches they will take to achieve those goals. This plan will be revisited and revised on a regular basis.
  • Postdocs will be encouraged to attend workshops on career opportunities, resume writing, and interview skills provided by the USC Career Center and the USC Office of Postdoctoral Affairs.
  • Postdocs will be involved in training and mentoring undergraduate and graduate students.

Training in preparation of grant proposals

  • Postdocs will be encouraged to participate in the following workshops offered by the USC Center for Excellence in Research: Developing NIH Grant Applications, Writing Persuasive Proposals, Developing and Submitting a DoD and/or DoE Basic Research Grant Application.

Communication skills, including publications and presentations

  • Postdocs will improve their ability to communicate research findings by presenting and obtaining feedback on their research at seminars hosted by their research community at USC.
  • Postdocs will be encouraged to give poster and oral presentations during the appropriate annual meeting.
  • Postdocs will be encouraged to attend research writing and publishing workshops hosted by the USC Center for Excellence in Research and teaching workshops hosted by the USC Center for Excellence in Teaching.

Training in responsible professional practices

  • Postdocs will be required to attend compliance courses offered annually by the USC Center for Excellence in Research on the following topics as appropriate: Animal Care and Use, Grants Management Education, Human Subjects Education, Laboratory Safety Training, and Responsible Conduct of Research Training.

Leadership and management skills, and guidance on how to effectively collaborate with researchers from diverse backgrounds and disciplinary areas

  • In the course of individual and collaborative research, postdocs will develop specific expertise but may also have the opportunity to develop strong familiarities in another research area enhancing their abilities to pursue cross-disciplinary research as they go on to establish their own laboratories.
  • Postdocs will be encouraged to attend workshops offered by the USC Center for Excellence in Research on the following topics: Creativity and Collaboration in the Academy, Obtaining Research Funding from Corporate Sponsors, Foundation Proposal Writing, How to Manage a Research Lab, Technologies for Empowering Research Collaboration Across & Beyond the Institution, and Transdisciplinary Team Leadership.