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Professional Development for Postdocs

Your postdoctoral fellowship is a pivotal point in your career. To complement your scientific work, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital offers a wide range of opportunities to prepare you for a successful professional future. 

St. Jude postdocs move into tenure-track academic careers at a rate well above the national average, and also have high success rates in landing competitive positions in biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, government agencies, and diverse beyond-the-bench careers.

Postdocs at St. Jude have access to the Strategic Milestones and Research Training (SMaRT) Plan.

The SMaRT Plan allows postdocs to:

  • Establish goals and set milestones early in their postdoc training
  • Identify key resources in our curated repository to support training
  • Establish a timeline for training that incorporates professional development and transferrable skill-building activities
  • Dedicate time to maximize research efforts
  • Work with a career advisor to prepare for the job market

More about the SMaRT Plan

St. Jude video

St. Jude Postdocs also have access to the Career Advancement Program (CAP) to support career development, and job placement.

The CAP is a 12 to 18-month experiential learning opportunity for postdoctoral fellows who have completed their research training and are seeking to develop requisite skills for successful job placement in select careers. CAP fellowships are conducted within St. Jude departments and/or affiliated institutions and offered in the following career sectors:

  • Academic Administration
  • Science Program Management
  • Scientific Communication
  • Good Manufacturing Practices
  • Undergraduate Research and Education

CAP fellowships are available on a rolling, competitive basis and occurs after research training is completed.



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Career development activities


Throughout the year, we offer in-depth workshops and seminars to give you the practical skills needed to land your next job and achieve professional success. Topics include interview skills, grant writing, developing your CV, getting published, and networking, among many others.

If you’re considering a variety of career options, you’ll enjoy our lecture series featuring guest speakers with perspectives about careers in academia, biotechnology, government, technology licensing, scientific publishing and more.

Postdoctoral Professional Development Event and Retreat

Offering a combination of science and career development, this annual event gives you the opportunity to present your work, learn about the work of others and share the camaraderie of your colleagues and invited speakers.

The scientific portion of the program is planned by postdoctoral fellows and may include keynote lectures, panel discussions with postdoc alumni or presentations about new tools and techniques available to facilitate your research at St. Jude.

Leadership opportunities

You will have numerous opportunities to develop leadership skills, for example, through active participation on the Postdoctoral Association Leadership Council and on various institutional standing committees. In addition, you can gain insight about leadership from nationally-acclaimed speakers in the St. Jude L.E.A.D. seminar series.

Clinical shadowing

Our clinical shadowing program offers the unusual opportunity to observe clinical practice in areas relevant to your research, and see for yourself the world-class patient care offered by St. Jude. Postdocs are matched with clinical investigators representing the full spectrum of clinical services at St. Jude.

Networking and scientific exchange

The close-knit St. Jude culture makes it easy to interact with scientific and clinical colleagues from all over campus. Open, cross-disciplinary exchange of ideas is encouraged both informally and through established programs—for example, working groups within the Comprehensive Cancer Center—to drive productive collaborations.  

In addition, regular seminars and symposia draw renowned invited speakers from all over the world. St. Jude has a facility, the Marlo Thomas Center for Global Education and Collaboration, specifically designed to encourage collaboration and translational interaction. 

You will also have many opportunities to present your work at St. Jude and beyond. An annual professional development allowance gives postdocs ample support to attend scientific conferences and network with others in their field.

Teaching and mentoring

Interested postdocs can take advantage of rewarding teaching and mentorship opportunities. You can engage with high school, undergraduate, and graduate students, as well as clinical fellows at St. Jude and at our affiliated schools, colleges and universities.