Trainee Individual Development Plans

The Research Experience and Training Coordination Core (RETCC) seeks to accomplish the following specific objectives:

  • Provide high quality transdisciplinary training, education, professional development and mentoring experiences to diverse trainees at the institutions participating in the PROTECT program;
  • Collaborate and share best practices with other SRP centers to jointly develop and deliver professional development, training and networking opportunities for trainees across multiple SRP centers;
  • Facilitate trainee interactions with the Community Engagement Core, the Human Subjects and Sampling Core, and the research translation component of the Administrative Core to promote trainee engagement with cultures and communities connected to our collaborating institutions to provide place-based, experiential environmental health and justice education; and
  • Provide ongoing interaction with the Data Management and Analysis Core, through various training modalities and mentorship, on the use of data analytics as a research tool and the importance of well-designed and implemented data management as an environmental health practice.

Individual Development Plan Mission:

The RETCC has developed the Individual Development Plan (IDP) for our trainees as a vehicle to promote professional development activities and opportunities (both individual and collaborative) that:

  • Enable trainees to understand and integrate the problems and concepts of health impacts assessment of contaminated systems, contaminant detection, fate and transport, exposure routes, remediation, and information management;
  • Develop trainee competence in the applied research methods underlying core activities;
  • Advance trainee technical, professional and personal skills/knowledge/attitudes to motivate and prepare them for successful careers in these fields;
  • Provide opportunities for our trainees to participate in,  contribute and learn from the Community Engagement Core (CEC), Data Management and Analysis Core and Research Translation  activities;
  • Promote environmental health fields to underrepresented populations through mentoring, networking and recruitment activities; and
  • Serve as a resource for the RTC for training opportunities to the greater SRP community.

Resources and Form:

IDP Form (link): The NEW IDP form in Microsoft PowerPoint is designed to assist trainees in documenting and presenting your professional development plans during the year. Trainees are asked to select one individual development activity and to suggest one Desafío or challenge project activity, to allow for increased trainee collaboration. Trainees will present their IDP PowerPoint presentation to their PROTECT Project or Core Team and the RETCC in order to obtain real-time feedback. Trainees are then encouraged to reflect on their IDP as the year progresses, returning to their IDP form to make changes and updates.

IDP Activity Example Menus: There are two menus of example activities – one for Individual Development Activities (link) and another for Desafío/Challenge Project Activities (link). The chosen activities should be something that they can add to their Resume or CV as an accomplishment or acquired skill or experience.

The Individual Development Activities menu includes examples of individual activities designed to help trainees to prepare for and meet their personal academic and career development goals.

The Desafío/Challenge Project Activities menu includes examples of past Desafío/Challenge Project activities intended to assist trainees in thinking about projects for this year that would enhance collaboration and team-building skills while allowing trainees to connect as part of a community.


Please review the Individual Development Activities menu and identify and describe one individual development activity similar to the examples provided. Individual IDP activities should be clearly described in the slide(s) to indicate the concrete steps that you will take to successfully complete the activity with specific deadlines for each step.

Similarly, please review the Desafío/Challenge Project Activities menu and suggest and describe a potential desafío project that you would like to engage in with other trainees. Feel free to discuss these types of projects with other trainees if time allows. Desafío/Challenge Project suggestions can be less concrete than the individual activity, as there will be additional discussion among all trainees to select final Desafío projects.

When selecting your IDP activities, you may want to consider the following as they pertain to your career goals:

  • Integration – activity will help me work across multiple projects/cores, and/or gain a better understanding of another discipline
  • Research methods – activity will develop my competence in research methods (e.g., procedures, analysis methods)
  • Community Engagement Core involvement – activity will allow me interact with a community impacted by environmental health issues (can be the Puerto Rico community or other community close to your institution)
  • Data Management and Analysis Core engagement – activity will expose me to opportunities to build upon my knowledge of data management, use and/or analytics.
  • Mentoring, networking and recruitment – activity will enhance my skills in connecting with others to share my experience and knowledge
  • Research Translation involvement – activity will promote transferring my engineering/science knowledge to government policy, lead to a patent, or help disseminate

Review your goals and IDP activities with your advisor. They will need to sign your completed form.

Due Date and Submission: Submit your IDP PowerPoint slides by Friday, November 5, 2021 through your CanvasFree account. The RETCC will be scheduling presentation dates for each core and project in November and December of 2021.

PROTECT Trainee Development Awards:

Trainees who would like to be considered for the PROTECT Trainee Development Awards will be asked to give a final presentation on their IDP activities in the Spring of 2022. The winners of the award will receive financial support to attend a conference, to participate in a course, training or workshop, or to visit an affiliated lab as part of their trainee experience.