Individual Development Plan

What is an IDP?

An IDP provides you with the opportunity to think about your training objectives, your progress towards them, and to set and/or refine goals for the future. Read what your fellow students have to say about it here.


Benefits of an IDP

Just as the process of writing a research article or proposal focuses your work at the bench, the IDP helps you develop an efficient training plan tailored to support your specific career ambitions. The act of completing the IDP will stimulate you to define your goals in more specific terms for both the short and long term, and will motivate you to identify resources which can help you meet them.


Your IDP Mentor

The role of the IDP advisor is to help with goal setting, career advice, and the implementation of the IDP.

G1s’ IDP Advisor will be the first year Program Advisor (with help from the CFs and TFs in BBS 230A/B) and at the end of the G1 year, students can select any faculty member of their choosing to serve as their IDP Advisor.


Sharing your IDP with your mentor

To gain the most benefit from the IDP, you must think deeply about the questions and answer them frankly. Sharing is therefore not a program requirement, nor will the IDP be kept on file by BBS. You are free to share as much or as little of the plan as you feel comfortable. However, the IDP process will be most effective if used to guide candid discussions with your mentor/advisor.


Program Requirements

Your completion of the IDP –privately or with a mentor– along with a corresponding yearly training/career-planning meeting with your mentor is a requirement of the BBS program. Because the beginning of a new year is an ideal time for self-reflection and planning, we ask that you complete the IDP in April, and have the yearly planning meeting before the end of May each year. For G1 students, we will roll out the process in waves throughout the first year. For G2 and above students, documentation that the IDP has been completed and planning meeting held must be submitted to the BBS office before May 31st.



Complete the appropriate IDP form (G1, G2, or G3 and above) in January. For more information about the process and its benefits see Mol Cell (2015) 58: 718-721 and
Schedule a meeting with your program advisor or mentor. The meeting should be held before March 1st. For G1s, scheduling is arranged in consultation with BBS 230A/B.
Share the desired portion of your IDP with your program advisor or mentor.
Meet with your program advisor or mentor and discuss your goals/plans.
Refine your action plan based on the discussion.
For G2 and above students, submit the IDP Reporting Questionnaire to the BBS office confirming IDP completion