In a new commentary published on the Editor’s Blog of Science, Chapman University’s Dr. Gregory Goldsmith describes how postdoctoral fellowship programs can transform the experience for early career scholars looking to advance their careers in science and engineering. For the past five years, Goldsmith has served as the first director of the university’s Grand Challenges Initiative, a three-year postdoctoral research and teaching fellowship within the Schmid College of Science and Technology and the Fowler School of Engineering.

Fellows in the program benefit from:

-A competitive salary and full benefits, including access to a certified financial planner.

-Dedicated orientation and onboarding materials.

Former postdocs Dr. Aaron Harrison and Dr. Carter Berry collaborate in the GCI Makerspace.

-An individual development plan, developed in close collaboration with faculty mentors, that serves as the foundation for setting goals and tracking progress over time.

-An annual research and professional development stipend.

-The ability to work with a freelance science writer to share new research results.

-Professional development in teaching, research, and workplace skills, including workshops on mentorship, writing for impact, and evidence-based practices in the classroom.

-Access to workshops focused on development of job application materials, as well as one-on-one training with a public speaking coach.

-Inclusion in a cohort of supportive postdoctoral scholars who work together to ensure one another’s successes.

This year, the Grand Challenges Initiative welcomes its 25th postdoctoral research and teaching fellow. Former fellows are now members of the faculty at UC Davis, UC San Diego, UC Riverside, CSU Dominguez Hills, Austin College, Pierce College and Tufts University.

Applications for fellowships in the Grand Challenges Initiative open in December. More information can be found at