Mentoring for the Postdoctoral/Early Career Researcher: Key Elements and Broader Impacts

Since 2009, the NSF has required that all grant applicants requesting funding to support postdoc researchers submit a one-page statement describing how postdoctoral trainees will be mentored, but research on professional development among postdocs and early career academics is far from vast—most studies of mentoring systems have tended to focus on youth, K–12 teacher induction, or private-sector businesses—even while recognition of its importance is growing. And although very few studies have been done on the specific field of STEM education, valuable insights about mentoring may be gained from studies focusing on other subject-matter areas.

This CADRE brief provides a synthesis of the elements of good mentoring practices that may be valuable to those preparing mentoring plans, or anyone engaged in mentoring.