Category: Training/Fellowships/Career Development

Developing a Culture of Safety in Biomedical Research Training

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NIGMS is committed to supporting safety in the nation’s biomedical research and training environments. Last April, we shared with you resources for enhancing lab safety in biomedical research training environments. Now, in a perspective in the current issue of Molecular Biology of the Cell (MBoC), we focus on strategies for improving laboratory safety. Some of these strategies are also applicable to other forms of safety including the prevention of harassment, intimidation, and discrimination. We frame the problem of laboratory safety using a number of recent examples of tragic accidents, highlight some of the lessons that have been learned from these and other events, discuss what NIGMS is doing to address problems related to laboratory safety, and outline steps that institutions can take to improve their safety cultures.

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Attend the IDeA Core Business Virtual Workshop

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Our Northeast IDeA State Technology Transfer Accelerator Hub, which supports biomedical entrepreneurship, is hosting a workshop for research core directors, postdoctoral fellows, and others supported by NIGMS grants who are interested in learning more about the business side of academic research facility management: 

Monday, October 5, 1:00-5:00 p.m. ET

The workshop will introduce helpful business skills to ease management and improve the top and bottom lines of IDeA research core facilities.

Registration for this free event is required by October 1. For more information, visit the meeting website.

Change in Receipt Dates for NIGMS Research on Interventions Program

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We recently published a notice (NOT-GM-20-050) announcing a single receipt date each year for our Research to Understand and Inform Interventions that Promote the Research Careers of Individuals in Biomedical Sciences (R01/R35) program.

The purpose of the program is to better understand the factors (e.g., social and behavioral) contributing to the success of individuals pursuing independent academic biomedical research careers. It supports research to enhance evidence for effective, high-impact, scalable interventions that may be focused on training programs, psychosocial factors, critical career transition points, or institutional culture. Due in part to the small number of applications received in response to this funding opportunity, the change in the program’s receipt date will allow us to increase efficiencies in the grant application review process.

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Webinar for NIGMS Institutional Predoctoral Training Grant Program Applicants

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UPDATE: The  video and slides [PDF] from the Predoctoral Training Grant (T32) webinar are now available.

If you’re planning to submit an application for the NIGMS Institutional Predoctoral Training Grant (T32) program in the basic biomedical sciences (PAR-20-213) for receipt dates on or after September 25, don’t miss our upcoming webinar:

Friday, August 28, 12:00-1:30 p.m. ET

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Webinar for Bridges to the Baccalaureate (T34) and Bridges to the Doctorate (T32) Program Applicants

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UPDATE: The slides [PDF] from the Bridges webinar are now available.

Are you preparing a grant application for the Bridges to the Baccalaureate or Bridges to the Doctorate institutional research training program? If so, please join our informational webinar to learn about the programs and application components. You’ll also have the opportunity to ask questions:

Tuesday, August 25, 2:00-4:00 p.m. ET

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MOSAIC Announcements and Upcoming Webinar

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UPDATE: The video and slides [PDF] from the MOSAIC webinar are now available.

Last summer, we shared with you our new Maximizing Opportunities for Scientific and Academic Independent Careers (MOSAIC) funding opportunity announcements (FOAs). MOSAIC, which NIGMS oversees, is part of NIH’s efforts to enhance diversity within the academic biomedical research workforce. It’s designed to facilitate the transition of promising postdoctoral researchers from diverse backgrounds into independent faculty careers at research-intensive institutions. The program has two components: a research education cooperative agreement (UE5) and a postdoctoral career transition award (K99/R00).

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Retiring Peer Review Site Visits for NIGMS Training Programs

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At NIGMS, site visits have traditionally been part of the peer review process for some training program renewal applications. The visits, which generally happened every other renewal cycle for existing programs, were conducted by NIGMS staff and review panel members to gain additional information about the programs. For those of you who are program directors or peer reviewers of our undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral training programs, it may feel as if site visits went away a long time ago. This is because changes to most of our training programs required new application submissions (see our previous post), which resulted in a significant reduction in visits, followed by a complete stoppage in recent months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Webinar for Postdoctoral Research Associate Training (PRAT) Program Applicants

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UPDATE: The video Link to external web site and slides [PDF, 5.23MB] from the PRAT webinar are now available.

We’re hosting a webinar for students and fellows interested in the PRAT Program for the October 2, 2020, receipt date:

Tuesday, July 14, 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET

PRAT is a competitive 3-year fellowship program that prepares trainees for leadership positions in biomedical careers. Training includes a mentored laboratory research experience and intensive career and leadership development activities. PRAT fellows conduct research in laboratories in the NIH Intramural Research Program (IRP) in basic biomedical research areas within the NIGMS mission. These areas include, but are not limited to, biological chemistry, biophysics, bioinformatics, cellular and molecular biology, computational biosciences, developmental biology, genetics, immunology, neuroscience, pharmacology, physiology, and technology development.

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What Can We Do to Combat Anti-Black Racism in the Biomedical Research Enterprise?

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The recent deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, in addition to the disproportionate burden of COVID-19 on African Americans, are wrenching reminders of the many harms that societal racism, inequality, and injustice inflict on the Black community. These injustices are rooted in centuries of oppression—including slavery and Jim Crow, redlining, school segregation, and mass incarceration—that continue to influence American life, including the biomedical research enterprise. Despite leading an NIH Institute whose mission includes building a diverse scientific workforce, at NIGMS we’ve struggled with what an adequate response to this moment would be, knowing that the systems that mediate the distinct and disparate burdens Black students, postdocs, and scientists face are complex and often aren’t easily moved with the urgency that they demand. With that in mind, below we share thoughts on what each of us who is in the majority or in a position of power can do to help break the cycles of racial disparities that are woven into the fabric of the biomedical research enterprise and that limit opportunities Link to external web site for Black scientists Link to external web site.

Institutional structures, policies, and cultures Link to external web site, including those in the biomedical research enterprise, all contribute to racial inequality and injustice. This fact was laid bare for us by the responses to the request for information (RFI) we issued in 2018 on strategies to enhance successful postdoctoral career transitions to promote faculty diversity. Respondents cited bias and discrimination—including racism—most frequently as a key barrier to postdoctoral researchers attaining independent faculty positions.

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Funding Opportunity: NIGMS Institutional Predoctoral Training Grants

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We’re pleased to announce that the NIGMS Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Predoctoral Institutional Research Training Grant (T32) for the basic biomedical sciences has been reissued (PAR-20-213). This funding opportunity announcement (FOA) continues our efforts to ensure biomedical graduate research training keeps pace with the rapidly evolving biomedical research enterprise. The goal of the T32 program is to develop a diverse pool of scientists with the technical, operational, and professional skills needed to advance their chosen fields and transition into productive careers in the biomedical research workforce.

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