New funding available for professional development for PhD students

Faculty may apply through Feb. 1 for support for events, programs, and networking opportunities related to career preparation for PhD students

Johns Hopkins University is encouraging faculty members to apply for three new funding opportunities to support career preparation programming for PhD students. The grants are part of a $1.5 million commitment made by the university earlier this year to address an ongoing shift away from academic jobs toward a variety of careers that rely on the skills and expertise gained during PhD training.

In an email sent today to graduate students and faculty, Provost Sunil Kumar and Nancy Kass, vice provost for graduate and professional education, provided information about how to apply for funding for events, programs, and networking opportunities designed to help PhD students learn more about available careers, particularly in non-academic areas.

"National data—and our own trends at JHU—suggest that more PhD graduates are applying their knowledge and skills to a broad range of career sectors," Kumar and Kass wrote. "We want to ensure that our students are prepared. A new investment of funds is intended to respond to that need."

Applicants are encouraged to submit ideas addressing both short- and long-term needs in three categories:

  • Funding for PhD Program Career Events is intended to support programs such as an alumni panel or a series of lunchtime events with speakers
  • The PhD Non-Academic Careers Innovation Program will provide greater funding to foster skill-building, networking, or immersive experiences over the long term
  • The Diversity Networking, Mentoring, and Professional Development Programs category will support people, programs, or schools creating professional development and networking opportunities for PhD students from underrepresented minorities

The new programming support is one of many recent investments Hopkins has made in the PhD student experience, a list that also includes changes in benefits; new policies on mentoring and professional development; a PhD student advisory committee started in 2018; and more transparency of data regarding time to degree, admissions, diversity, and career outcomes.

JHU will also announce early this month the hiring of an inaugural director for a professional development office called PHutures on the Homewood campus. The office serves PhD students and complements the longstanding Professional Development and Career Office serving PhD students and postdocs in East Baltimore.

Grant proposals for the new funding opportunities are due Feb. 1, 2020.

Information sessions will be held in-person and by video conference on Thursday, Jan. 9, from 11 a.m. to noon in Room E6519 at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, and on Friday, Jan. 10, from 11 a.m. to noon in Malone Hall, Room 107. Additional information, including video conference details, is available on the provost's website. Questions should be directed to Kass at