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Oklahoma State University
OSU Research

Office of the Vice President for Research

Individual Development Plans

Individual Development Plans (IDPs) are increasingly being recommended, and sometimes even required, for graduate students and postdocs involved in sponsored research.  The National Institutes of Health strongly encourages, but does not require, institutions to develop and use IDPs for graduate students and postdoctoral researchers supported by NIH awards, regardless of their position.  IDPs provide a structure for the identification and achievement of career goals.  (

Annual NIH 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.

Because IDPs are becoming recognized as a best practice, Oklahoma State University’s Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate College both recommend that graduate students and postdoctoral researchers make use of IDPs to set academic and career goals and to facilitate conversations with their mentor(s).  

A variety of IDP tools are available online through the links provided here: