Foundational Training

epicpostdoc_ft_header2.jpgMastering the skills of goal planning, scientific or scholarly writing, time management, and mentorship are necessary for a successful postdoctoral experience.

This training will be offered independently throughout  the year to support scholarly work for postdoctoral scholars at all stages.


Inspiring Research: Creative Strategies for Communication

Part of the grAdvantage programming, this intensive four-day workshop will enhance participants’ abilities to vividly articulate their research and inspire audiences. Participants will incorporate storytelling, metaphor and gestures while practicing innovative communication of their research.  During the final day of the workshop, participants will be filmed by an expert interviewer and camera crew in a setting that resembles a professional media capture environment.

  • Dates: Wednesday, January 4 – Saturday, January 7, 2016, 10am to 5:30pm everyday, Dolores Huerta/Philip Vera Cruz Room

  • Applications are available on the grAdvantage website and are due by Wednesday, November 16th.

Postdoc Research Symposium

Organized by Postdoctoral Association (PDA), this symposium showcases the research being conducted by postdoctoral scholars at UC San Diego, one of the premier research institutions in the world.  In addition, the postdoctoral scholars will have the opportunity to connect with your peers, faculty and industry professionals.

November 1, 2016


Financial Education

“Save early, save often” is a mantra touted by many financial planning websites and experts.  Time is critical when saving for retirement or any financial goal.  According to the U.S. Dept. of Labor, every 10 years you delay starting to save for retirement, you will need to save three times as much each month to catch up.

To help you get started and understand how to maximize your financial potential, the Office of Postdoctoral and Visiting Scholar Affairs has teamed up with Curo Financial Planning to offer the “Financial Education Series for Postdocs”. 

Each workshop will discuss the ways to set yourself up for financial success for that specific topic.  Partners and family members of postdocs are welcome to attend.  Come join us to learn about the topics listed below and create a strategy for your financial future!

Date Topic

February 2, 2017

Smart Money Moves in your 20s and 30s

May 4, 2017

Investing 101

August 3, 2017

Love and Money

November 2, 2017

Employment Transition: Preparing for Change

As many people are concerned about how to plan for their financial future as their careers advance, the program offers a complimentary one-on-one personal consultation.  These one-on-one consultations are a great way to get individual solutions that fit your specific financial situation. If you would like to schedule a session, time slots will be available to meet on campus the next week after each workshop.  These one hour sessions with a Financial Advisor are confidential and complimentary.  A sign-up sheet will be available at each workshop.

All workshops will be held from 12:30 - 2 pm in Medical Education and Telemedicine (MET), Rm 215.

Register HERE

Please note that family members of postdocs are also welcome to attend.

Dates and locations are subject to change.

Grantsmanship - Funding Fest

Funding Fest 2017

The ability to successfully secure funding is a critical part of your postdoctoral training.  However, how does one write a competitive grant?  What funding opportunities exist for postdocs? How does the submission process work? Come and learn the answers by attending the workshops of Funding Fest!  

Funding Fest is an annual series of informational workshops that is held each Spring or Summer and provided by the Torrey Pines Training Consortium.  The Torrey Pines Training Consortium members include Salk Institute for Biological Studies, Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP), The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) and UC San Diego. They sponsor training courses and programs designed to provide career development and leadership competencies for scientific professionals at early stages of their career.

Funding Fest workshops are presented by various faculty members, postdoctoral training grant and fellowship recipients and institutional offices.

This year various workshops will be held at the different Torrey Pines Training Consortium institutions from April to May, 2017.


Grant Writing 101

In this workshop, faculty from the Scripps Research Institute, Ashok Deniz, Glen Nemerow and Bruce Torbett will discuss how to effectively write a grant.

Thursday, April 20 from 1-2:30 pm

The Scripps Research Institute, Committee Lecture Hall - Skaggs Institute/Molecular Biology Building, 2nd Floor, room 220.

NIH K99/R00 & the NIH Grant Process

UC San Diego Professor Pamela Mellon will explain the NIH Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00) application and review process.  In addition, K99/R00 recipients, Joseph Davis (TSRI) and Kristin Palmsten (UCSD) will discuss tips & advice on applying.

Friday, May 5 from 1- 3:30 pm

UC San Diego campus, Leichtag Building, room 107

Creating a Successful Data Management Plan for Funding Applications: DMPTool

Do you need help creating such a data management plan for your funding applications?  Then attend this workshop offered by UC San Diego Data Curation Specialist, Reid Otsuji, who will give a thorough overview and demo of the DMPTool and answer your questions.  Don’t miss this opportunity to make your funding application shine!

Tuesday, May 9 from 12- 1 pm

UC San Diego campus, Biomedical Research Facility 2 (BRF2) room 4103

How to Apply for a Postdoc Fellowship*

This workshop, given by RRachel Cook, Senior Grant Analyst, Health Sciences Sponsored Project Pre-Award Office at UC San Diego, will include how to apply for different fellowships, UC San Diego guidelines and general submission information for fellowships and grants and where to look for funding.

Thursday, May 18 from 1-3 pm

UC San Diego campus, Medical Education and Telemedicine Building (MET), room 141

*Although all postdocs are welcome, this seminar is targeted to UC San Diego postdocs.

Basics of Mentored Grant Writing

UC San Diego Professor Peter Wagner will discuss the different types of grants, structure and components (abstract, aims, method, budget) and how to think and write about them.

Thursday, May 25 from 1- 3 pm

UC San Diego campus, Medical Education and Telemedicine Building (MET), room 145

Questions? Suggestions? Contact the person at your respective institution:

Ginger Hazen, UC San Diego, or (858) 822-5915

Jean Branan, TSRI,

Nisha Cavanaugh, SBP,

B.Bea Rajsombath, Salk,

Health and Wellness

POC Retreat 2017

The Office of Postdoctoral and Visiting Scholar Affairs and Professor Karen Dobkins have partnered to offer UC San Diego postdocs this health and wellness weekend workshop based on principles from both the scientific and Buddhist perspectives (Mindfulness and Positive Psychology), which focus on improving your relationship with yourself and others.

You will learn how to get straight to the heart of a matter, identify the issues, discriminate between real threats vs. the “stories” we tell ourselves, move away from “shoulds”, take responsibility for our choices and what we have brought to a negative situation, not go into “victim mentality”, communicate needs without being “needy”, bring love and openness to all situations, live wholeheartedly ….. without apology.  

Saturday, May 20 and Sunday, May 21, 2017 (participants need to bring a lunch both days)

Time: 9 am - 4 pm

Location: Home of Prof. Karen Dobkins in La Jolla 

Registration: by May 13, 2017

Please note that friends and family are invited too!

This retreat is offered only once a year, so don’t miss the opportunity to learn “…the importance of mental health and mindfulness for our daily lives as postdocs…the impact of negative thoughts and lack of clarity that follows and how these affect our lives often detrimentally” – Postdoc from 2015 retreat.

The POC workshop was created and is led by Dr. Karen Dobkins, who got her PhD in Neurosciences and is now a professor in the Psychology Department at UC San Diego.  Although her main area of research study has been brain development in children, her most recent research passion is in the area of mindfulness and mental well-being. Outside the world of research, she enjoys blending Mindfulness with her expertise in Psychology/Neuroscience to create workshops and environments aimed at improving well-being.  In addition to teaching an exercise class called “IntenSati” that blends high intensity aerobics with call and response positive affirmations, she loves to give inspirational talks, including two recent Tedx talks “The Space between Kansas and Oz” and “If Passion Weren’t Scary it wouldn’t be Passion”.

Postdoc Health and Wellness

Postdoctoral training is a time of transition for scholars, which can lead to feelings of uncertainty and stress.  In addition, this training period often coincides with personal milestones (e.g. marriage, parenthood) and usually requires relocation to a new city or even new country.  To address the challenges that confront postdoctoral scholars, this series is designed in collaboration with the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (FSAP) and Office of Postdoctoral and Visiting Scholar Affairs (OPVSA) to help postdoctoral scholars have a healthy and productive time while in training.

Workshops addressing different challenges will be held in Student Services Center, room 300 from 12-1:30 pm. 

Lunch will be provided by OPVSA.

Facing the Challenges of a New Environment

When you start your postdoctoral training, you are likely fresh out of graduate school and just moved to San Diego from potentially across the country or world.  Although the academic setting may be similar, expectations, cultures and locations have changed.  This workshop will provide tools to help with the transition as well as a venue for new postdocs to meet each other and share resources.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017 (Student Services Center, Room 300)

Presented by Izabel Caetano Francy, LCSW

Working Postdocs with Small Children

During your postdoctoral training, you may either have small children or are on the brink of starting a family. This workshop is designed to provide tips and share resources as well as introduce parents in similar positions to each other.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017 (Student Services Center, Room 300)

Presented by Izabel Caetano Francy, LCSW

How to be a Healthier, Happier, More Productive You!

As postdoctoral training is stressful, mostly autonomous and often overwhelming, this workshop will provide tools to help realize the importance of self-care as well as introduce mindfulness exercises that can help you throughout your training.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017  (Student Service Center, Room 300)

Presented by Izabel Caetano Francy, LCSW

Tips for Creating an Enjoyable Holiday Season

This workshop will help postdocs learn how to focus on the enjoyable side of the approaching holiday season, which is usually a busy and possibly stressful time of year.  In addition, if you are an international postdoc who is unfamiliar with the expectations of the holiday season in the U.S., this is an opportunity to share resources and customs with fellow postdocs.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017  (Student Services Center, Room 300)

Presented by Izabel Caetano Francy, LCSW

Dates and locations are subject to change.

Register HERE

For information on the Postdoc Health & Wellness Series, please contact Merritt Bradford, or (858) 534-3553

Interviewing Skills for PhDs Program

Interviewing Skills for PhDs Program

This program is a series of events designed in collaboration with Career Center, Office of Postdoctoral and Visiting Scholar Affairs and the Postdoctoral Association to provide postdoctoral scholars and doctoral students application materials preparation and useful interviewing skills with a chance to apply those skills in a mock interview session with local professionals and hiring managers.


Session 1: Translating Your CV and Preparing Your Resume and Cover Letter

December 1, 2016; 12 - 1:30 pm, Horizon Room, Career Center

This first workshop will teach you how to translate your CV into a resume; how to effectively highlight your qualifications, experience, and skills for appealing to a non-academic audience; and how to construct a powerful cover letter. Please bring a working draft of your CV or resume.

Session 2: Preparing for your Non-Academic Interview

March 7, 2017, 12 - 1:30 pm, Horizon Room, Career Center

This second, interactive workshop will teach you interview techniques and strategies that will allow you to create an effective and comfortable dialogue during the interview. We will focus on concrete tools and examples to help you be successful.

Session 3: Mock Interview Session for Industry with Jon Miyake, Ph.D.

March 29, 2017, 1 - 2:30 pm, Horizon Room, Career Center (during Career Development Week)

At this mock interview session, 2 candidates will be interviewed for 20 - 30 minutes, one at a time in front of an audience followed by a debrief discussion about the interview as well as a general Q & A session. Jon Miyake, PhD; Senior Manager, Technical Support at Illumina will be our mock interviewer.

Be an audience member to have the chance to peek behind the veil of what happens in an industry interview and what makes a competitive candidate!

International Scholar Support

U.S. Job Search Strategies for International PhDs

This workshop is designed in collaboration with Career Center, Graduate Division, International Faculty & Scholar Office and Office of Postdoctoral and Visiting Scholar Affairs to provide international pre- and postdoctoral scholars with the tools they need to successfully navigate a job search for non-academic long-term employment in the U.S.A.  Concerns that are common among the international population will be addressed including visa limitations, networking and interviewing process.

November 16, 2017

For more information and registration will be available soon.

Permanent Residency Pathways for Postdocs

This workshop offered by the International Faculty & Scholar Office and Office of Postdoctoral and Visiting Scholar Affairs will touch on the most common pathways that postdoctoral researchers can use to adjust to permanent residency status. Additionally, this workshop will address the topic of internal policies on employment-based permanent residency here at UC San Diego, and the specific appointment titles that allow such sponsorship.

September 21, 2017

Register: Permanent Residency Pathways for Postdocs


Understanding your Visa for Career Preparation

Roark Miller, Director of the International Faculty & Scholar Office, will discuss common questions that postdocs in J-1, H-1B, and F-1 OPT status have pertaining to their nonimmigrant status, including eligibility for outside employment, planning your next nonimmigrant status in tandem with the institutional policy on job titles and visa selection, and a short overview of the USCIS I-140/I-485 employment-based permanent residence filing.  

May 3, 2017

For more information and to register:

Leadership and Teamwork

Teamwork and Leadership certificate

Part of the grAdvantage programming, this UC San Diego Extension Specialized Certificate in Leadership and Teamwork is designed to equip participants with skills to help them excel in any working environment; communication skills, self-awareness, time management, and the ability to function on diverse and collaborative teams. The certificate consists of three courses focusing on leadership, teamwork, and project management. Throughout the program, students will implement these skills by working collaboratively on teams to manage hands-on projects on campus. The culmination of the program will include a showcase of the students’ projects to campus leaders, industry guests, and the general public. Upon completion of the certificate program, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows will be empowered to transition into their career pursuits.

Leading Yourself and Others to Career Success

This Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) leadership development program is designed for advanced graduate students and postdoctoral scholars to learn more about their leadership styles and preferences, so they can use this information in the context of their career paths to help them and their future teams succeed. Certificates will be awarded to participants who complete all program requirements.


Ambassador Program

In collaboration with the UC San Diego International Faculty & Scholar Office, the Postdoctoral Association offers assistance with the transition of a new postdoc to campus through our Ambassador Program. The program places a new postdoc in contact with a fellow postdoc “Ambassador”.

Summer Research Scholar Program

In partnership with Prof. Elizabeth Komives and UCSD Extension, this mentorship program allows postdoctoral scholars to have hands-on mentorship of high school students from across the country over 3-weeks in the summer quarter.  The postdoctoral scholars will learn how to provide effective mentorship and guide a short-term and manageable research project that will culminate in a formal poster session.


Postdoc Table Talk

Postdoc Table Talk

Postdoctoral scholars rely on a network of mentors and advisors for success during their training and beyond.  Some postdoctoral scholars may not have the opportunity, contacts or venue to broaden this network, especially with academics in another field. 

To address this, the and Office of Postdoctoral and Visiting Scholar Affairs (OPVSA) and the Postdoctoral Association (PDA) have collaborated to create a platform for postdoctoral scholars and UC San Diego faculty to connect over an informal lunch at the Faculty Club once per quarter.

During this lunch, up to 5 postdoctoral scholars and a faculty member of the scholars’ choosing will have the opportunity to engage in discussions, such as postdoctoral training, research, life in and outside of academia and more.  The topics are driven by the attendees and all are expected to participate in the discussion.  OPVSA will sponsor the lunches at the Ida and Cecil Green Faculty Club.

We hope you will take advantage of this opportunity to meet with UC San Diego faculty members as they share their insights and experiences.

Please do not apply if the featured faculty member is your mentor. The intent of the lunch is to broaden the postdoctoral scholar's network.

Lunches will be held in the Ida and Cecil Green Faculty Club from 12 – 1:30 pm.

Writing and Publishing



Camp Fellowship is a series of three events to support the preparation of your postdoc fellowship through in-person training and practical application.

The first event, Becoming a Successful and Effective Science Writer Workshop, is intended for anyone interested in improving their writing skills. 

The final two events, F32 Fellowship: Application, Process and Panel and F32 Writing Group are intended to support those working toward the upcoming F32 submission deadlines.

Note that all the events will provide general assistance to those considering postdoctoral fellowships based on the standard structure.

Details below. (Flyer)

Learn how to be a more effective scientific writer!

Becoming a Successful and Effective Science Writer Workshop with Prof. Joshua Schimel 

Successful papers don’t just present a nice dataset, they also tell a clear and powerful story about how nature works. They are also written in a way that is clear, direct, and engaging. In this workshop, we will “open the toolbox” to explore some of the ways you achieve each of these goals.

In the first part of the workshop we will focus on story structure, exploring the different structures we use in writing science—not the simple document format of IMRAD (Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion), but of the different ways we can organize the structure of the actual story. When do you use a front-loaded structure where you make an argument and then flesh it out vs. building to a final conclusion?

In the second part of the workshop we will focus on energizing writing, activating language, de-jargonizing it, and creating flow and power.

Date: Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017

Register: Becoming a Successful and Effective Science Writer

There will be a morning and afternoon session for this workshop.  Please only select one option during registration.


Learn how to prepare and apply for the F32 from study section members and F32 recipients!

F32 Fellowship: Application, Process and Panel

Lorraine Pillus, Assoc. Dean of the Division of Biological Sciences, and Mark Lawson, Director of UC President's Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, will explain the NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship (F32) application and review process from their experience on study sections.  In addition, F32 recipients, Karen Tonsfeldt, Postdoctoral Fellow of Reproductive Medicine and Stefano Brigidi, Postdoctoral Fellow in Division of Biological Sciences, will discuss tips & advice on applying.

Date: Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017

Time: 12:30 – 3 pm

Location: Skaggs Pharmaceutical Sciences Building (PSB), room 1120

Register: F32 Fellowship: Application, Process and Panel


Put the tools you learned into practice!

F32 Writing Group

Adam Engler, Associate Professor of Bioengineering and Mark Lawson, Faculty Director of Postdoctoral Training and Education, will provide guidance and structured work time to share and receive feedback from peers.  As a participant, you are expected to bring a draft of your fellowship (or notes/outline) and be ready to write!

Date: Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017

Time: 8:30 – 11:30 am

Location: Medical Education and Telemedicine Building, room 215

Register: F32 Writing Group


Nature Masterclasses: Scientific Writing and Publishing (Online training)

As a postdoc at UC San Diego, you have access to the online Nature Masterclasses, courses about scientific writing and publishing. 

  • To register, visit: masterclasses.nature.comNote: You will need to be using UC San Diego's Internet or wifi or access it remotely

The course is taught by editors from the Nature journals, contains 15 modules, and covers the entire scientific publishing process – from writing a paper to publication.

Access is available to UC San Diego postdoctoral scholars, students of all levels, faculty, staff and administrators. Note that the course focuses on the natural sciences.

Start your access:

To start using the course, make sure you are using the UC San Diego's Internet or wifi, or accessing it remotely, and register on the Nature Masterclasses website:

You will always need to use the UC San Diego's Internet or wifi, or access it remotely, to access the course.

Once registered, you will have immediate access to the course:

For more information, see the User Guide for Institutional Access PDF or PowerPoint presentation.

How To Videos:

Register and get access

Use the course

Review your progress

Use the blog and ask questions

Edit your profile and add a photo


Garnett-Powers & Associates (PSBP Insurance Broker) - (800) 254-1758

International Faculty & Scholar Office (International Center) -; (858) 534-3730


Research Ethics

UC Learning Center - Registration system and catalog of training available to postdocs

UCSD Extension - Postdocs are eligible for  a 10 percent discount, up to $50 per quarter, on eligible courses to eligible students at UC San Diego Extension.

UCSD Whistleblower Hotline - (877) 319-0265

Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination - (858) 534-8298;

Office of the Ombuds - (858) 534-0777

Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (FSAP) - (858) 534-5523

Lactation Accommodation at UCSD

UCSD Early Childhood Education Center

Garnett-Powers & Associates Wellness Programs

For more information about benefits and services for UC San Diego postdocs, visit:

Useful Links

More Resources