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Association Releases Guidebook to Advance Postdoc Women

Tuesday, September 29, 2015  
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October 2, 2015

The National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) has published a guidebook to assist postdoc women in navigating through their careers by utilizing professional societies and associations.

The Advancing Postdoc Women Guidebook provides essential information on programs and resources available to postdoc women as they progress in their careers. The postdoctoral position - a temporary period of training and mentored research following the receipt of a doctoral degree - represents a critical transition point in which the numbers of women scientists and engineers declines significantly. With this guidebook, the NPA hopes to stem this decline by providing solutions to some of the biggest obstacles to women’s career advancement.

The guidebook was written with information collected from the Elsevier Advancing Postdoc Women survey, which captured responses from 46 professional associations and societies about the programs and resources offered to postdoc women or women in general to enhance their advancement into science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and social, behavioral and economic sciences (SBE) disciplines. The information from the survey was compiled in an online clearinghouse, found here:

The focus of the clearinghouse, and subsequently the guidebook, is on mentoring, childcare, and career and professional development programs. Survey results revealed that professional societies and associations delivered many of these programs and resources during their annual meetings, on the web, and within informal or formal settings. Many of the resources are also of use to postdoc men and graduate students.

The chapters within the book were authored by various representatives from societies and associations, and professionals in the postdoctoral community. The guidebook contains the following chapters:

  • Utilizing Professional Societies and Associations to Advance Your Career
  • Beyond “Finding Good Mentors” to “Building and Cultivating Your Mentoring Team”
  • Making the Most of Your Postdoc: Career Preparation and Planning
  • Beyond Graduate School
  • Work-Life and Childcare Resources for Postdoc Women

The guidebook was funded through the 2012 New Scholars Grant, awarded by the Elsevier Foundation. The New Scholars Program supports projects to help early- to mid-career women scientists balance family responsibilities with demanding academic careers and addresses the attrition rate of talented women scientists. For more information on the Advancing Postdoc Women Guidebook, visit

The book will be available on the NPA’s website, and in limited hard copies. Please contact the NPA for information on obtaining a copy.

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