Mentoring International Post Docs

by Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

The reality of modern science is that the laboratory is an increasingly international place. Half of the more than 52,000 postdocs conducting research in the US are from other countries. These individuals come to the US for a variety of reasons (e.g. learn new technologies, gain access to better research, work with a specific mentor) and are faced with a specific and complex set of challenges (e.g. visa delays, language barriers, cultural biases) that institutions and faculty mentors are often ill-equipped to handle. These issues have the potential to become barriers to success of these scientists resulting in decreased productivity and creativity, low morale and failure to achieve career goals. To increase awareness and assist mentors in the training process, we developed this series of video vignettes and discussion guide to provoke discussion, facilitate problem-solving and identify alternate courses of action. The videos and guidebook were developed with the following goals in mind:
  • Identify and address specific issues related to training international postdocs
  • Create awareness and sensitivity to cultural issues that may affect the success and performance of international postdocs
  • Improve mentor skills and competencies in problem areas
  • Outline clearly defined mentor and postdoc roles and responsibilities
  • Provide case studies/real-life scenarios that illustrate positive mentoring practices, different mentoring styles and approaches to resolving conflict

Select a Chapter to Play
1: A Frustrated Mentor
2: A Tough Decision
3: An Unfortunate Misunderstanding
4: A Long Distance Hire
5: Navigating Life in the US
6: Saeed's Dilemma

This product was funded through the ORI RCR Resource Development Program. Project Director, Wendy Williams, PhD, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Download the Guidebook and Videos

Title Format
PDF Video
Video GuideBook
Mentoring International Postdocs:
Working Together to Advance Science and Careers
Download PDF  
"A Frustrated Mentor"
Topics: cultural barriers
  MP4 (7.5MB)
"A Tough Decision"
Topics: cultural bias, ethnic stereotypes, hiring practices, working environment, abuse of power
  MP4 (9.5MB)
"An Unfortunate Misunderstanding"
Topics: immigration issues, mentor/trainee trust, trainee expectations, communication
  MP4 (6.8MB)
"A Long Distance Hire"
Topics: hiring practices, mentor expectations, immigration issues
  MP4 (7MB)
"Navigating Life in the US"
Topics: immigration issues, mentor/trainee trust, trainee expectations, communication
  MP4 (8.5MB)
"Saeed's Dilemma"
Topics: communication, immigration issues, performance assessment, career guidance
  MP4 (11.5MB)


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Source URL: https://ori.hhs.gov/mentoring-international-post-docs