Principal Investigator

Beginning in January 2009, all NSF grant applications that include funding support for postdoctoral fellows must include a mentoring plan. Below is the specific language addressing this new stipulation that can be found in the Grant Proposal Guide:

Chapter II, Section C.2j

“Each proposal that requests funding to support postdoctoral researchers must include, as a supplementary document, a description of the mentoring activities that will be provided for such individuals. In no more than one page, the mentoring plan must describe the mentoring that will be provided to all postdoctoral researchers supported by the project, irrespective of whether they reside at the submitting organization, any subawardee organization, or at any organization participating in a simultaneously submitted collaborative project. Proposers are advised that the mentoring plan may not be used to circumvent the 15-page project description limitation.

Examples of mentoring activities include, but are not limited to: career counseling; training in preparation of grant proposals, publications and presentations; guidance on ways to improve teaching and mentoring skills; guidance on how to effectively collaborate with researchers from diverse backgrounds and disciplinary areas; and training in responsible professional practices. The proposed mentoring activities will be evaluated as part of the merit review process under the Foundation's broader impacts merit review criterion. Proposals that include funding to support postdoctoral researchers, and, do not include the requisite mentoring plan will be returned without review.”

Mentoring activities provided to postdoctoral researchers supported on the project, as described in a one-page supplementary document, will be evaluated under the Broader Impacts criterion.

Below is a suggested description of the Postdoctoral Affairs Office and a list of items that the PI can choose to include in his/her grant when writing the section on mentoring Postdocs. Note: the NSF states that it does not want boiler-plate mentoring plans to be submitted, so the information below is to be used merely as a guide.


Suggested description of OPA

Stony Brook University’s Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (OPA) opened as of November 1, 2010. The aim of the office is to facilitate the mentoring and training of postdoctoral scholars. OPA programs will include presentations and workshops on matters relevant to the professional development of Postdocs. Some of the workshops offered are:
  • Hone your Presentation Skills
  • Learn to Write a Teaching Statement
  • Learn to Write a Research Statement
  • Resume and CV Writing
  • Strategies for Finding a Job
  • Hone your Interview Skills
  • How to Set Up a Lab
  • Understanding Learning Styles
  • Capital Ideas: A Series of Grant Writing Workshops

Learn to Write a Budget
How to Organize a Proposal
Inventions and Patents
Life in the Biotech Industry
How to Win a K award
Winning a NASA award
Winning an AHA award

  • Communicating Science to the Public: Improvisation
  • Communicating Science to the Public: Distilling Your Message
  • Provost’s Postdoctoral Lecture Series
  • Alumni Panel: What to do with a PhD
  • Etiquette Dinner for Postdocs
  • Preparing for the Future: Immigration Issues for Postdocs

OPA also works collaboratively with the SBU Teaching Learning + Technology (TLT) center, the Career Center, the Center for Communicating Science, the Graduate School, the Center for Inclusive Education, the Center for Biotechnology, the Office of the Vice President for Research, the Center for Science and Math Education, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and the various departments on campus that employ Postdoctoral Scholars.

Stony Brook University Postdocs are also eligible for free membership in the following:

  1. Bio Careers: an online career service that provides an in-depth look at a variety of post-graduate career paths in the sciences. Bio Careers has a Jobs Board with over 1,400 listings; virtual job fairs; free webinars, workshops and articles on job searching strategies; and a highly regarded blog relevant to Postdoc issues.
  2. National Postdoctoral Association
  3. SBU's Research Interest and Funding Opportunity Database: The database lists funding opportunities which can be matched to the Postdoc's needs depending on the key words entered on the profile, and Postdocs can also connect with other researchers on campus by entering simple search words. Based on the key word selections associated with the Postdoc's profile, s/he will also receive weekly emails with matched funding opportunities.
  4. Community of Science Database
  5. New York Academy of Science career development branch, Science Alliance


Travel Grants

Travel grants (up to $1500) are offered to Postdocs annually. These opportunities can be included in grants that require support for Postdocs as further evidence of the university's commitment to enhancing the postdoctoral experience at SBU.


Some tips for what a PI might want to include in his/her grant:
  1. Through SBU’s sustaining membership, a Postdoc is eligible and should be encouraged to become a free affiliate member of the National Postdoctoral Association
  2. Postdoc should be made aware of the location of and services offered by the SBU Office of Postdoctoral Affairs
  3. PI should indicate how frequently s/he meets with Postdoc to discuss research results, career goals, and to practice presentation skills
  4. PI should encourage Postdoc to take advantage of MyIDP
  5. PI should indicate if s/he provides travel support to attend regional, national and/or international meetings that would facilitate skill enhancement and afford networking opportunities
  6. PI should encourage Postdoc to attend relevant seminars on and off campus and review OPA website Related Links


Free membership to National Postdoctoral Association

The mission of the OPA includes support and guidance for faculty who employ Postdoctoral Scholars. We have a sustaining membership to the National Postdoc Association (NPA) so all faculty members at SBU may apply for a free affiliate membership. If you are interested in joining the NPA, please email


Reduced rate to Science Alliance

For faculty who are interested in taking advantage of New York Academy of Science events through joining Science Alliance, you can receive a reduced rate by using FACULTY75 as the 'coupon code' when registering. (Code is cap sensitive.)


Feedback wanted

The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs is always interested in what faculty members have to say. Please email and let us know your thoughts about anything and everything to do with hiring and supervising a Postdoc at SBU. We take your suggestions to heart and will do our best to accommodate all requests.

Room 2438, Computer Science Building, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794-4433 Phone: 631.632.7531 Fax: 631.632.7243
Login to Edit