IPS Insights: Mathematical and Physical Sciences Workshop for Young Investigators

by Chava Nerenberg, Graduate Programming Assistant
Friday, December 02, 2022 2:21 PM

Have you ever wished you had support to take advantage of a professional or career development opportunity that lies outside the scope of your academic research? The UCSB Individualized Professional Skills (IPS) Program is designed to help graduate students and postdoctoral scholars fill in the funding gaps for pursuing opportunities that support your professional development in a variety of career trajectories.

IPS Insights: In our series, “IPS Insights,” previous awardees share about their IPS-funded experiences in short informational videos. This week's featured video is by Yimin Luo, a postdoctoral scholar in Mechanical Engineering.

Yimin used the IPS funds to attend the 2022 Mathematical and Physical Sciences Workshop for Young Investigators, which focuses on grant writing for young assistant professors and late-stage postdoctoral scholars. Watch the video to learn more!


In Yimin's Words: What I Learned

"I participated in the 2022 Mathematical and Physical Sciences Workshop for Young Investigators at Alexandria, VA, co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and University of Florida. This was a workshop specifically designed to broaden participation in grant writing for young assistant professors and late-stage postdoctoral scholars. Prior to my arrival, I was asked to write a mock grant proposal, reviewed other participants' proposals, and wrote reviewer reports. At the conference, we covered many topics ranging from the peer-review process to NSF Funding Opportunities, to what the NSF typically looks for in the Broader Impacts statements. In the afternoon, we transitioned to panel reviews. The program manager took the time to guide us through the process, discuss the techniques, and answered all of our questions. The conference really removed a lot of barriers for me to get to know the program manager, ask detailed questions, and follow-up questions; it was such a valuable opportunity for me to be connected to other young assistant professors, who were just one or two years out of their PhDs and postdoctoral trainings. By the end of the conference, we really developed a sense of community. We talked freely about our struggles, but also opportunities and collaborations. The town of Alexandria was also just charming, which we found out during our brief dinner break. One thing to note is that, it was a somewhat intense process, prior to the meeting, I spent about 2 days drafting the mock proposal and another 1-2 days reading and reviewing everybody else's proposal. But there was no better way to learn about the grant-writing process, so I still highly recommend the experience to anyone planning on staying in academia."

IPS Program Overview

Awards up to $1000 are granted to eligible UCSB graduate students and postdoctoral scholars from any discipline who wish to individually tailor their career paths with outside professional development opportunities. The purpose of the IPS program is to help grad students and postdocs take greater agency in their own career path by funding exploration of a range of professional development opportunities across a variety of career and skill interests.

The IPS Program is a collaboration between the Professional Development Series at the Center for Science and Engineering PartnershipsGraduate Division; the Office of Diversity, Equity and InclusionUCSB Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative and CNSI Technology IncubatorCareer Services; UCSB's divisional deans; and external donors. Learn more about the program here!