24 Sep 2013, BioSpectrum Bureau , BioSpectrum
Singapore: National Institutes of Health is creating a pool of $3.7 million for awards to enhance training opportunities for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars to prepare them for careers in the biomedical research workforce that could take them outside of conventional academic research.
The first set of NIH Director's Broadening Experience in Scientific Training (BEST) awards are supported through the NIH Common Fund's Strengthening the Biomedical Research Workforce program.
"NIH recognizes that there are many ways in which biomedical PhD graduates can meaningfully contribute to the biomedical research enterprise," said Dr Francis S Collins, director, NIH. "The future of biomedical research depends upon a sustainable and robust workforce, in which talented, well-trained scientists are best prepared to make significant contributions in academia, industry, government, business, and other venues."
"The NIH Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD) Biomedical Workforce Task Force analyzed the state of the biomedical workforce, and found that many trainees are pursuing research and research-related careers outside of the traditional academic path that serves as the current model for training," said Dr Sally Rockey, deputy director, Extramural Research. "The BEST awards are intended to expose trainees to the multitude of career paths that utilize their PhD training."
BEST awards will support bold and innovative approaches to increase student and trainee exposure to multiple research and research-related career options. These new approaches could include coursework, rotations, workshops and hands-on training experiences, or other forms of exposure. Each BEST awardee will be required to evaluate whether or not these novel approaches are successful, share lessons learned with the other BEST awardees, and work with other BEST awardees to share information about successful approaches with the biomedical research training community.
"BEST awards are an opportunity to transform the way in which biomedical PhD students and postdoctoral scholars are trained," said Dr James Anderson, director, Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives, which oversees the NIH Common Fund. "These awards will allow trainees to understand the many career options available to them within biomedical research and should therefore make biomedical research training more appealing, enabling us to retain our best talent. Wide dissemination of the approaches that are being developed will result in a nation-wide impact."