U.S. Department of Energy

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Program Expectations

We want to ensure that postdoctoral appointments are beneficial to all parties—the postdoc, the adviser and line manager, and PNNL. Therefore, it's important to establish up front each of the parties' expectations of, and from, the appointment.

Expectations for the postdoc

As a postdoc, you will have the primary responsibility for ensuring your experience is what you need to develop as an independent research professional. This includes requesting a written individual development plan from your adviser and line manager, being clear about the outcomes you are seeking from the appointment, requesting annual evaluations, seeking additional mentoring if needed, and participating in professional development activities.

Expectations for advisers and line managers

The advisers are responsible for providing an experience that advances the postdoc's career. This experience should lead toward research independence and development as a collaborative team member, and it should include a variety of opportunities to promote professional development.

At the outset of the appointment, advisers should provide a written outline of their initial expectations of the postdoc, including the overall research plan and the postdoc's responsibility for ongoing research. The outline should also include expectations around authorship; PNNL's policies regarding ownership of ideas, intellectual property, and data; process for determining priority of research projects; and any other items deemed appropriate for the research group.

Advisers should review the outline annually in case a mid-course adjustment is needed because of changes in either the adviser's assessment of the postdoc's abilities or changes in the postdoc's career goals. In cases where the line manager is not the adviser, the line manager should also agree to the outlined expectations and review them annually with the postdoc.

Advisers and line managers should consider whether postdocs might benefit from additional mentoring by several PNNL researchers. The purpose of such a mentoring committee would be to provide additional guidance and perspective to the postdoc, not to alter the important relationship between postdoc and adviser.

Expectations for PNNL

We will provide a postdoc program manager who is outside the research organization, as a resource for the postdoctoral research associate. Program managers will not interfere with line organization responsibilities; rather, they'll guide postdocs through resources, as needed.

We will provide a set of common experiences including, but not limited to: brown bags, seminars, poster sessions, and social events. This will provide a broader networking experience for each postdoc. Where feasible, the postdocs should be asked to participate in the organization of these events, as a professional development activity.

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