On April 11, more than 150 people from across the country (plus many via videocast) participated in the NIGMS Symposium on Catalyzing the Modernization of Graduate Education. The goals of the meeting were to convene stakeholders to continue the momentum for positive change within the biomedical graduate education community and to showcase innovative experiments and approaches in Ph.D. training.
The morning session featured presentations highlighting the training expectations of graduate students, institutional approaches to reshaping graduate education programs and attributes employers look for when hiring early career scientists. These talks converged on the theme of ensuring that graduate education equips Ph.D. students with the scientific and professional skills they need to be successful in their careers.
After a presentation focusing on assessing the effectiveness of educational innovations, the speakers in the afternoon session described a variety of experiments in graduate education that are currently under way in various settings. The nine innovations featured in this session were augmented by an additional 32 posters presented during the lunch period.
Beyond the energy and enthusiasm in the meeting room, community members engaged via social media, with the meeting hashtag #modernPhD trending on Twitter and receiving nearly 700 tweets during the day.
We at NIGMS hope that the information exchanged during the meeting will promote additional innovations in graduate biomedical education and continue to strengthen ongoing efforts. The activities the Institute is supporting to facilitate change in this arena include two current funding opportunities in the form of administrative supplements to T32 grants to promote research curriculum development and career curriculum development. NIGMS staff also intend to write a new predoctoral T32 funding announcement aimed at supporting the modernization of graduate education in fundamental biomedical research.
We believe that this symposium represents an important step in bringing attention to innovation in graduate education, helping to break down scientific and educational silos, and informing further efforts.