We’re once again soliciting applications from research-intensive institutions for the NIGMS Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Award program.
Now in its 12th year, the IRACDA program supports traditional postdocs at research-intensive universities who also teach at nearby institutions with substantial enrollments of minority students. The program offers an opportunity to conduct top-notch research while developing teaching and other academic skills, such as problem-solving, communication, time management and grant-writing. Eighteen institutions currently participate in the program.
Because the IRACDA program combines a traditional mentored research experience with instruction, it prepares scientists for careers in both research and teaching. It also benefits the students at the institutions where the teaching takes place. So far, the data indicate that IRACDA postdocs do as well as or better than their peers in publishing and in getting jobs in academia and industry.
In fostering a diverse scientific workforce, IRACDA is a model program. Underrepresented groups currently make up about 28.5% of the national population, yet just 9.1% of college-educated Americans in science and engineering occupations. Nationally, about 7.5% of postdocs are from underrepresented groups. The IRACDA program, although not targeted to minorities, has about 40% of its postdocs from underrepresented groups. The program also strengthens the overall teaching and research opportunities at institutions with substantial minority enrollments. In these ways, IRACDA further promotes the development of the next generation of a diverse pool of scientists who are available to address the Nation’s biomedical, behavioral and clinical research needs.
IRACDA also addresses the growing recognition that future faculty should not only be able to conduct research, but also be effective teachers in the classrooms. Most faculty positions require some amount of teaching, and so it’s only natural that postdocs are trained in modern pedagogy before they start teaching as part of their faculty duties. To this end, major research universities are beginning to offer teaching certificate programs for their doctoral students.
If you’d like to know more about IRACDA or find out how you can participate, please contact me.
A special symposium marking the 40th anniversary of the Protein Data Bank (PDB) will be held this year at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York, October 28-30.
It’s quite fitting that the meeting is being held here. It was a 1971 symposium at the laboratory titled “The Structure and Function of Proteins at the Three-Dimensional Level” that led to the establishment of the PDB as a freely accessible portal for the experimentally determined structures of biological macromolecules. Since then, the PDB has grown into an international resource for structural biology, today containing nearly 75,000 structures of proteins, nucleic acids and complex assemblies.
Because it is such a vital resource for researchers, NIGMS and other parts of NIH, along with the National Science Foundation and Department of Energy, have helped fund the PDB’s operation for many years. NIGMS is also a sponsor of the symposium.
The October event, which is open to all, will include presentations by many prominent scientists who have been instrumental in the development of the PDB and the field of structural biology. Among the confirmed speakers are Michael Rossmann of Purdue University, an early advocate of the PDB; Wayne Hendrickson of Columbia University, a leader in solving the structures of membrane proteins; and Kurt Wüthrich of the Scripps Research Institute and the ETH Zürich, a pioneer in NMR structure determination techniques.
A limited number of travel awards to attend the symposium are available for students and early career scientists; applications are due by
More information about the program, registration and travel is on the meeting Web site.
As part of our commitment to developing a diverse scientific workforce, we sponsor the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) national conference and the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) .
These conferences represent two of the largest gatherings of science and math undergraduate students from groups that are underrepresented in the biomedical and behavioral sciences. They are terrific opportunities for you to meet and recruit outstanding students. You also can volunteer to mentor students or judge their posters.
This year, SACNAS will meet in San Jose, CA, October 27-30, and ABRCMS in St. Louis, MO, November 9-12. For more information or to register, visit the meeting Web sites.
NIH has issued a notice requesting input by July 28 on potential revisions to reduce administrative burdens or costs related to compliance with OMB Circular A-21, Cost Principles for Educational Institutions. For more details, read this recent blog post from NIH’s Sally Rockey.