Give Input on NIGMS Undergraduate Student Development Programs to Enhance Diversity in the Biomedical Research Workforce

As part of our longstanding commitment to fostering a highly trained and diverse biomedical research workforce, we have launched a review process to ensure that our programs contribute most effectively to this goal. An important part of this effort is to seek your input.

To this end, we just issued a request for information for feedback and novel ideas that might bolster the effectiveness of our undergraduate student development programs. Some of the things we’re particularly interested in are:

  • The advantages (or disadvantages) of supporting a single program per institution that begins after matriculation and provides student development experiences through graduation.
  • Approaches to leveraging successful institutional models for preparing baccalaureates for subsequent Ph.D. completion.
  • Strategies to build institutional capabilities and effective institutional networks that promote undergraduate student training programs that lead to successful Ph.D. completion.
  • If applicable, your specific experiences with any of our student development programs and their outcomes in preparing participants for biomedical research careers.

More broadly, we welcome your suggestions regarding the most important issues we can address in this arena.

I encourage you to share your views (no longer available) on these and associated topics by the response deadline of April 15, 2015.

2 comments on “Give Input on NIGMS Undergraduate Student Development Programs to Enhance Diversity in the Biomedical Research Workforce

  1. Bottom line, no matter how many undergraduate or graduate incentive programs you institute, if you can’t fund the researchers who these students look up to and interact with, then the programs are pretty useless. We are talking about a career here and at present I, nor many of the colleagues I work with, can in all honesty advise a student to enter this career field without telling them that they will have perhaps a less than 10% chance for success. My advice is to get serious about economizing at NIH (e.g. through modification of indirect cost allotments, salary reimbursement, # of grants/investigator, intramural waste, etc.) and increase % funding for the people mentoring these students.

  2. I’ve dedicated much of my career to undergraduate education and to the inclusion of undergraduates in my laboratory. I’ve been quite successful at it; undergraduates have been responsible for at least half the research productivity of my lab over the past 15 years. Unfortunately I’m no longer able to give undergraduates these experiences because of NIH funding policies. People who are truly invested in undergraduates and their success will never have time to submit several grants per funding cycle in the hope that one will hit every few years. A massive change is needed in the way NIH funds research before any of its efforts to aid undergraduates will be worthwhile.

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