Individual Development Plans

What is an IDP?

Individual Development Plans (IDPs) are a written document used to outline past accomplishments, identify areas in need of development and create feasible professional goals in order for a graduate student or postdoctoral researcher to successfully work towards a desired career. IDPs create an opportunity for graduate students and/or postdoctoral researchers and faculty mentors to openly discuss career goals and work together to create a plan to reach those goals.

Are IDPs required?

Graduate students and postdoctoral researchers funded by NIH are required to complete an IDP each year. The Office of Research and The Graduate School strongly encourage the use of IDPs for all graduate students and postdoctoral researchers for identifying professional development opportunities and to aid in career planning.

Where can I find the NIH requirements related to IDPs?

The NIH policy on IDPs can be found in this notice:

and in this revised notice:

What is the NIH Policy on IDPs?

According to NOT-OD-14-113, “NIH encourages grantees to develop institutional policies that employ an IDP for every graduate student and postdoctoral researcher supported by NIH awards. Beginning on October 1, 2014, annual progress reports are required to include a description of whether the institution uses IDPs or not and how they are employed to help manage the training and career development of those individuals.”

Who is responsible for ensuring compliance of USC’s NIH-funded researchers with this policy?

It is the responsibility of the NIH awardee (Principal Investigator) to include a report on the use of IDPs in the Research Progress Performance Report (RPPR) starting on October 1, 2014.