Graduate students and postdoctoral trainees are the workhorses that drive the advancements in science and technology. They are extensively trained in research, problem solving, and rapid adaptation to changing needs and opportunities, which makes them valuable employees inside and outside academia. While it is estimated that only about one third of PhD graduates will succeed in obtaining a job in academia, so far many graduate programs have not yet incorporated the needs of industrial, governmental and non-profit employers in their training, and therefore many PhD graduates and postdocs are not truly prepared to join a non-academic workforce. With this proposal, we aim to initiate a paradigm shift in biomedical graduate education with the goal of changing the basic assumptions and perceptions regarding the design of a successful career after graduation. To this end, we will develop Best Practices for the conversion of traditional bench focused biomedical PhD programs in academia into interdisciplinary and versatile educational opportunities that train students and postdocs for the needs and challenges of today's society, economy and public health. We will implement this change by institutionalizing the addition of science related but non-scientific information for students and mentors in various biomedical graduate study curricula. The ultimate goal of this new design is an enhanced knowledge for graduate students and mentors of the importance and availability of biomedical jobs away from the bench, and an increased employability of graduate students and postdocs who receive this training. Our approach includes four major aims, i.e. PREPARATION, EDUCATION, CULTIVATION and EMPLOYMENT. This PECE model requires graduate students and postdocs to obtain 1) PREPARATION in graduate studies and professional skills (GPS) at the beginning of their studies/employment, 2) for trainees and as well as the mentors to engage in EDUCATION on science related subject matters beyond academic bench research, 3) for students and postdocs to enroll in a leadership workshop and to care for the CULTIVATION and enhancement of their knowledge and relationships in a Student-Alumni Alliance (STUDAL) for mutual benefit and life-long support, and 4) for trainees to seek EMPLOYMENT after additional training in a biomedical employability workshop, including the evaluation of a job application package and a mock interview by members of the Bioscience Advisory Board with the assistance of a professional career counselor. We are confident that such a structured interdisciplinary approach in biomedical graduate education will better serve the needs and challenges of today's society, economy and public health.
Traditional biomedical graduate education does not effectively train for employability outside academia, where much of the Nations innovative health related research is carried out. We will develop Best Practices for the conversion of traditional bench focused biomedical PhD programs into interdisciplinary and versatile educational opportunities that train students and postdocs for the needs and challenges of today's society, economy and public health.
|Meyers, Frederick J; Mathur, Ambika; Fuhrmann, Cynthia N et al. (2016) The origin and implementation of the Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training programs: an NIH common fund initiative. FASEB J 30:507-14|