How Career Development Programming for Graduate Students has Evolved to Satisfy Their Changing Interests and Needs

 In 2018 Abstracts

How Career Development Programming for Graduate Students has Evolved to Satisfy Their Changing Interests and Needs

Jaime Rubin, Columbia University

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Career development programming for graduate students has dramatically evolved over the past 25 years and these changes reflect the expanding and complex needs of this student population. When thinking ahead about future programming, it would be very instructive to review how and why we have arrived at today’s current situation. Twenty-five years ago, I founded two formal graduate-level courses that continue today, “Funding and Grantsmanship for Research and Career Development Activities” and “Responsible Conduct of Research and Related Policy Issues” (RCR). The former was created as a result of my own interests and experiences working with junior investigators and realizing their near total lack of understanding of how biomedical research is funded at U.S. academic institutions. While the RCR course was initially founded as a result of NIH’s requirement for formal training in this area, the course addresses more than the required topics. Initially, both were treated as “stand alone” courses, separate from any specific Master’s or doctoral program. Now, both are formal components of graduate level curriculums, with expanding student attendance. Both are described in NIH training grant and individual fellowship applications. While both courses were started almost fortuitously, it is clear that going forward, we need to accurately identify the full range of professional skills (e.g., laboratory and fiscal management) that will be the most valuable to junior academic scientists transitioning to independence, starting their own research teams, and developing their research program, and then develop a robust and multi-faceted comprehensive curriculum based on these needs.

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