NIH to Require Reports on the Use of Individual Development Plans (IDPs)

Eric Dorman

We hear a lot about budgets for the federal funding agencies and how appropriations can affect the future of research finance in the United States, but federal funding agencies are planning for the future in non-financial ways, too. We blogged recently about pushes by the NIH and NSF to prioritize mentorship and other forms of development in order to make sure the next generation of researchers thrives, and the newest effort by the NIH to promote development of young researchers comes in the form of a policy that requires annual progress reports to describe the use of Individual Development Plans (IDPs).

IDPs are used for graduate students and postdoctoral researchers who work on projects funded by the NIH. Though IDPs are not required, they are strongly encouraged in order to both increase accountability to the broader research enterprise and ensure career progress. 

The recent NIH policy notice says that beginning October 1, 2014, “NIH progress reports using the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) must include a report on the use of IDPs in Section B. Accomplishments, Question B.4.”

Read more on the origins of the IDPs from Dr. Sally Rockey’s July 2013 blog entry here.