Example development activities include: 

  • Self-leadership and personal effectiveness training 
  • Reflective practice and planning 
  • Finding a mentor (or multiple mentors)  
  • One-to-one coaching 
  • Conference attendance 
  • Careers advice and feedback 
  • Career management training and career research 
  • Personality profiling/ psychometric assessments 
  • Health and wellbeing training and advice 
  • Networking training and events 
  • Presentation and communication skills training 
  • Project and time management training
  • Management and administration responsibilities e.g. organising events, committee responsibilities 

Spotlight on activities to develop self: 

Find out from other research staff about the development activities that helped them to develop themselves. 

Development activities

Find out from other research staff about the development activities that helped them to develop themselves. 



"At Imperial you can receive coaching from non-academics. For example, I had a coach from a head of finance, and he was extremely helpful for me in developing my non-academic side.  For example, like being assertive, being accountable for myself, setting goals that are in my control, knowing how much I am actually achieving on my own, and not getting put off by critical feedback."
- Dr Pavani Cherukupally, MIT (former Postdoc in Chemical Engineering)

Find out more about Coaching and Mentoring at Imperial College London

Leadership Programmes 

"I went on the Springboard women's development program and that was quite a mind-blowing course. It had a whole component on self-reflection, which I think we could all do with. I think the structure of that course was quite strict as you can't miss a session, which is brilliant

The course is awesome but it's a great commitment. You would have sessions a few weeks apart, including exercises that touch on your actual work situation. You would go away and reflect on it, think about your assessment of that situation, and then come back and discuss your findings. It was nice because the crop of people in my cohort were quite diverse in terms of academic versus non-academic roles or level in the college.

So, I found that course nice in terms of impact on self-development and really thinking about what I would like to do. It was also very good in terms of developing others."
- Dr Julia Makinde, Benevolent AI (former Postdoc in the Department of Infectious Diseases) 
Find out more about the Springboard Women’s Development Programme

Personality profiling 

"This is a tool which asks a series of questions and, if you answer them honestly, it can help draw out aspects of your personality in terms of your strengths and weaknesses, your emotional intelligence and your ability to be logical. I think it allows you to reflect on those aspects of yourself in different situations, where other people will have different life experiences and have a different take.

I think it can help you to be more effective as a person in terms of how you communicate and reflect on your weaknesses and identify areas where you tend to like things to be a particular way.  Perhaps you could learn a different way of thinking or a different way of expressing things. You can build better relationships and identify areas where you might need to strengthen things on a personal level or professional level. So, it's a tool to reflect on your behaviour, perhaps some of those things you don't realize that are unique to you."  
- Dr Richard Kelwick, Postdoc in the Department of Infectious Disease  

Find out more in the Academic’s Success Guide: Understanding and managing communication and work style differences 

CV workshop 

"It was very important to sit in some of the CV workshops, and they were nice because you saw different formats, for example, CVs for lecturers. That allowed me to see different ways in which people present their professional backgrounds and, depending on the industry you are targeting, that allows you to really modulate what you present."
- Dr Julia Makinde, Benevolent AI (former Postdoc in the Department of Infectious Diseases) 
Explore PFDC resources on non-academic career paths 

Project management

"On the PFDC training list, very early in my postdoc, I noticed a course to do with project management. I actually missed that training, but I got the idea to sign up for an external project management certification course. I got time off to do that course, and got the certification, which is internationally recognized. Although I did it blindly, later when I moved out from my postdoc, it actually ended up being useful in securing a job role as a senior manager position because they needed someone who had a project management certification." 
- Dr Julia Makinde, Benevolent AI (former Postdoc in the Department of Infectious Diseases) 
Find out more:


Any career will involve challenges and emotional ups and downs. Equipping yourself with tools, techniques, ways of thinking that can boost your mental health, wellbeing and resilience is important for us all.  Take advantage of the variety the support and guidance available at the College 
Find out more: