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Partner FAQ

Partnering with FUTURE 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the process?
  • After you register your interest, a FUTURE staff person will contact you by email to set up a brief call. In the email, you will receive some information about FUTURE, some schedule options for the phone meeting, and a few questions for you to answer before the phone call pertaining to your position’s skill requirements and tasks. During the call, we will talk about the level of program participation you prefer.
  • What information will you collect from me?
  • In the email we will ask for your job title, your company, your contact information, and your availability. Over the phone, we will work with you to categorize your job and career according to a defined taxonomy that is used broadly in the US and in the myIDP tool (see "What is myIDP" below). Finally, we will send you a questionnaire asking about which skills are important for success in your job, and which tasks you perform regularly in your job.
  • Why do we ask for your demographic information?
  • In the questionnaire we will ask you about your race and ethnicity, and other information that might identify you as a member of an underrepresented population in the biomedical sciences. Providing this information is completely voluntary, and not a requirement for participating in the FUTURE program. We are collecting this information, because mentorship for trainees from underrepresented groups is limited and we are looking for ways to expand the pool of mentors in biomedical sciences from diverse backgrounds. You will have the option to choose whether or not you would like this to be identifiable information to the participating scholars.
  • How will my information be used?
  • The job and career information you provide will be used to compile aggregated data about different career paths. This data will be augmented with the information you share with the trainees in the interviews/experiences. As our partner community grows, so does the power of this information. This information will eventually help benefit the larger community of postdocs and graduate students at UC Davis in learning more about careers in your field. Your personal contact information will be kept confidential, and will be released to UCD trainees only after FUTURE program staff approve their request to meet with you.
  • How involved do I need to be?
  • This depends on you, your availability and interests. We ask that you be available for a minimum of one “informational interview” per year. Other ways you can be involved are: conducting informational interviews (multiple); providing job shadowing (externships) and/or internship opportunities; participating in UC Davis networking events, career panels, and seminars; serving as a long-term career mentor.
  • What is an informational interview?
  • The "informational interview" is a brief meeting that is offered to someone who is interested in learning more about your job or career. Informational interviews may lead to contacts that ultimately help land a job, but they are not direct inquiries about job opportunities. Informational interviews allow trainees to research a career or employer that is of interest to them, and to explore whether it would be a good fit for their background, interests and skills. The interviews are typically 45-60 minutes long, and are conducted either in person at a location convenient to you, or via phone/Skype.
  • What does it mean to be a long-term career mentor?
  • If you choose to volunteer as a long-term career mentor, we will match you with a trainee who is interested in pursuing a career similar to yours, and would like someone to seek career advice from for a longer, but defined period. As a long-term career mentor, you will be asked to be available to a specific trainee for one year to answer questions related to pursuing a career in your field, to share experiences from your own career path, and to provide general career-related advice. This is similar to what you would be doing in an informational interview, but for a longer period of time. Serving as a career mentor does not obligate you to help a trainee get a job, provide a letter of recommendation, or provide additional contacts. You are only asked to be available for advice by whatever mode of communication you prefer (email, phone, in-person, etc.).
  • When will I be contacted by a trainee?
  • A FUTURE trainee may request a meeting at any time during the year. You will be notified by FUTURE staff before a scholar contacts you. It is possible you won’t be contacted at all, but even so, your contribution will have an instrumental role in the success of the FUTURE program by your provision of data about your career. 
  •  How will I be contacted?
  • FUTURE program participants (students and postdocs) will notify FUTURE staff of careers that interest them and we will search for an appropriate match for the scholar. If you are chosen, we will notify you by email 48h before providing your contact information to the trainee. The trainee will then get in touch with you directly (by email or phone, depending on your preference) to arrange a meeting that suits your schedule.
  • How will my participation help?
  • Through informational interviews and/or job shadows (we call these activities “career exploration” experiences), you will be providing a UCD student or postdoc with valuable insight that is needed to help them make informed decisions about their career paths. However, each career exposure experience you generously provide will benefit far more than just one person. The scholars will share key take-away points from their career exploration experiences to the larger group of FUTURE participants (no identifying information about you or your place of work will be shared). In this way, your contribution has the potential to benefit a large community of postdocs and graduate students who are exploring careers.
  • How long do I need to participate?
  • We will check in with you each year to make sure you are still interested in participating and reassess how much and in which ways you would like to contribute. You can also withdraw your participation at any time by contacting us directly.
  • What is myIDP?
  • myIDP (referred to in FAQ #2) is one of the most widely used tools for creating an Individual Development Plan (IDP), and has come into broader use with the NIH’s recent announcement of support for an institutional policy requiring an IDP for every graduate student and postdoc supported by any NIH grant. IDPs serve as a framework to help trainees discuss and define their career and professional development goals with their mentors. By informing us of the skills and tasks that are required for your job, you will help the myIDP remain relevant and effective in guiding biomedical trainees through a rapidly evolving workforce.