Professorial Advancement Initiative


The Pennsylvania State University along with the other Big10 Academic Institutions has received an National Science Foundation (NSF) Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) Transformation grant, Professorial Advancement Initiative or PAI.

The goal of  PAI grant is to develop a high-quality mentoring network that will improve the transition of underrepresented minority (URM) postdoctoral scholars into the professoriate in the STEM disciplines and double the number of URM faculty members hired at Big Ten Academic Alliance institutions. The PAI is designed to prepare and train URM postdoctoral scholars in STEM disciplines for transition to tenure track faculty positions within our institutions.

Through this grant, the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs  enables URM postdocs get additional professional development and mentoring  at Penn State.

Eligibility to be a PAI postdoc( as set by National Science Foundation)

  • Be a postdoc in STEM ( as defined by NSF) disciplines

  • Be a U.S. citizen

  • Be an African American, Hispanic American, American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, or other Pacific Islander

Those selected to be a PAI postdoc can receive small travel stipend to attend a conference of their choice, be invited for professional development meetings at Big Ten Academic Alliance with other PAI postdocs from Big Ten institutions, attend monthly professional development webinars, have access to resources for URM postdoc success, develop a mentoring team including their PI, be included in a searchable database of all PAI postdocs for increased visibility( optional), be part of a growing group of current and alumni postdocs.

Interested postdocs or faculty can contact Pallavi Eswara, Director, Office of Postdoctoral Affairs,



The NIH-funded National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) – Committee on Institutional Cooperation Academic Network (CAN) initiative addresses the need for greater diversity in the biomedical academic research workforce across the country. This initiative is designed to support the academic career path of biomedical researchers, with emphasis on those from underrepresented backgrounds. The grant aims to provide professional development experiences to aspiring scientists, and to assist mentors in developing core competencies for mentoring and grant writing. Participating universities in the program include the Big Ten Academic Alliance institutions, with University of Chicago leading the project.
Several faculty members from Penn State have received training to facilitate discussions on mentoring and coach on grant writing. Postdocs selected to attend the professional development conferences have received training in grant writing and mentoring.

Next opportunity for professional development and mentor training will be in 2019.

Faculty and postdocs interseted in knowing more about NRMN CAN and how they can participate  should contact Pallavi Eswara, Director, Office of Postdoctoral Affairs,