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pd|hub Stakeholder Workshop Report


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Enhancing Dissemination of Evidence-Based Models for STEM PhD Career Development; a Stakeholder Workshop Report

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About the Report Public Release Event on March 4, 2021  

Sustainability of the scientific enterprise requires being able to recruit, retain, and prepare PhD-trained scientists ready to adapt with the evolving needs of the scientific workforce and society. This necessitates a broadened, trainee-centered view in doctoral and postdoctoral training—including a prominent focus on career planning, science across sectors, and development of professional skills.

pd|hub hosted a workshop to discuss enhancing the development, dissemination, and widespread implementation of evidence-based practices for STEM graduate and postdoctoral education, with a specific emphasis on career and professional development for PhD scientists.

Fifty workshop participants represented nine key stakeholder groups including career development practitioners, scientific societies, disseminators, education researchers and evaluators, employers of PhD scientists, funders, professional associations, trainees, and university leaders and faculty. Participants spanned different races, ethnicities, genders, disciplines, sectors, geographic locations, career stages, and levels of institutional resources.

This report presents cross-cutting themes identified at the workshop, examples of stakeholder-specific perspectives, and recommended next steps. 

Key Findings

Four major challenges to advancing career and professional development

  • The need for a trainee-centered perspective in STEM PhD and postdoctoral training.
  • The challenge of undervaluation of PhD and postdoctoral career and professional development.
  • The challenge of misaligned incentive and reward structures for enacting change in PhD and postdoctoral education.
  • The need for cross-stakeholder communication and collaboration.

Five critical action areas for advancing evidence-based practices 

  • Incentivizing change at institutions and programs, and establishing accountability.
  • Curating and disseminating resources for evidence-based career and professional development models in a way that supports widespread implementation.
  • Broadening and deepening evidence for effective career and professional development training and mentoring.
  • Improving communication within and across stakeholders in STEM PhD education.
  • Creating definitions and expectations for STEM PhD career and professional development.


Actions catalyzed by the stakeholder workshop

Multiple actions were initiated or catalyzed as a direct result of the stakeholder workshop. Example actions that are now being facilitated by pd|hub include:

  • Forming the pd|hub Coalition of Higher Education Organizations promoting professional development in STEM graduate and postdoctoral education
  • Seeding a group of scientific societies working together to advance PhD and postdoctoral career and professional development
  • Bringing together cross-stakeholder groups of individuals to build capacity for evaluation and research in graduate education
  • Launching a pd|hub project to disseminate and support implementation of curated Collections of evidence-based approaches for graduate and postdoctoral career and professional development, recently awarded a five-year grant by NIGMS to develop and pilot the first two Collections. 


Get involved

pd|hub is a cross-stakeholder initiative to advance actions for change.  
If you are interested in staying abreast of our activities, contributing expertise, and/or helping mobilize efforts, please connect with us or follow us on Twitter @pdhubSTEM.


Recommended report citation: Bixenmann R., Natalizio B.J., Hussain Y., Fuhrmann C.N. (2020). Enhancing Dissemination of Evidence-Based Models for STEM PhD Career Development; a Stakeholder Workshop Report. Worcester, MA: Professional Development Hub, UMass Chan Medical School.


Workshop hosted by pd|hub with support from these funders/sponsors:
NSF logoHHMI logoUMass Chan Medical School logo