Postdoctoral Competitive Edge Program

The School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and the Postdoctoral Association at Western, in collaboration with the Postdoctoral Advisory Committee, established the Postdoctoral Competitive Edge Program for all new postdoctoral scholars at Western. Western provides a comprehensive set of opportunities for postdoctoral scholars that allow them to develop a competitive advantage by strengthening their CVs and maximizing their opportunities within the global job market.


The Program has been designed with the following objectives:

  • to provide Western Postdoctoral Scholars with extensive mentorship opportunities.
  • to provide Western Postdoctoral Scholars with opportunities for advanced experiences to improve both their academic and non-academic skills. This could include grant writing, research team management, research design and hypothesis development, University level teaching, job search preparation, project management, networking, discussion of career options and attending and presenting research findings at national and International conferences in their particular area of research or scholarship.


All faculty supervisors and postdoctoral scholars at Western receive a structured and high-quality framework to help them plan and ultimately achieve their training outcomes. Standardized oversight of postdoctoral training is associated with increased trainee satisfaction, an increased number of postdoctoral publications per year, higher rating of faculty mentoring relationship, and decreased reported conflicts.


The Postdoctoral Competitive Edge Program empowers scholars by providing the following support and guidance to achieve their career goals through the following areas:

Professional Development Plan

At the heart of the Program is a professional development plan that all new scholars must complete within the first few weeks of their time at Western.  The Professional Development Plan (PDP) for Postdoctoral Scholars at Western University is a tool which formalizes long-term and short-term expectations that you and your postdoctoral mentor(s)/supervisor(s) have identified as goals in your successful development at Western. A comprehensive review of your career goals and objectives at the beginning of your postdoctoral experience, as well as ongoing constructive feedback from your postdoctoral mentor/supervisor, will increase the probability of achieving your individual goals by defining the time and resources required.  A plan will be made available to you after submitting your contract to The School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies but you can download the document at any time. 

Predicated on the philosophy that a postdoctoral scholar is ultimately responsible for charting and managing the course of his or her own career, individual postdoctoral scholars are responsible for managing the flow of communication and completing the major documents involved in the process. Faculty supervisors and mentors are responsible for providing oversight and agreeing on these documents.