As evident from the recent Biomedical Workforce Working Group Report to the NIH Director, the United States faces a substantial challenge in revitalizing future career opportunities for the many talented trainees currently engaged in biomedical research throughout the nation. In response to this national need, the University of California, Davis (UC Davis) proposes an innovative new program, Frontiers of University Training to Unlock the Research Enterprise (FUTURE). FUTURE will build on UC Davis'experience and successes in career development training to expand professional growth opportunities for biomedical science graduate students and postdoctoral researchers. In developing the proposed program, we are building on our extensive transdisciplinary research training programs, a widely subscribed entrepreneurship academy, a history of outreach to industry, and a network of interdisciplinary graduate groups supported by a graduate studies office that has been a leader in graduate student and postdoctoral professional development. Novel activities to be developed include robust internship programs (internal and external), expanded partnerships with outside organizations (private and public), and new curricular offerings intended to enrich and complement our already innovative approaches, while not detracting from or prolonging the existing training time. FUTURE is designed to enrich current training experiences and enhance less commonly nurtured skills and competencies, including communication across disciplines, entrepreneurial thinking, and knowledge transfer. Through partnerships with institutional leaders, industry and other organizations, the program will enable trainees to cultivate critical specialized skill sets needed to thrive in biomedical careers. FUTURE will offer a broad menu of didactic and experiential activities, customized according to individual scholars'career interests. Our mission is to enable and empower graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to develop their own educational portfolios (i.e., MyFUTURE) and be the architects of their own successful career paths.
This program will contribute to a transformation in biomedical science training from a narrow focus on academic research careers to a broader approach that includes support and resources for the development of professional skill sets that prepare scientists for careers beyond academia. The recipients of this more holistic approach will be well-positioned to pursue science-related careers in virtually every sector of society ranging from law and public policy, to business, industry and government. Through programs like this, biomedical scientists of the future will enter the workforce with the skills and knowledge necessary to effectively apply science in new ways and in new environments, and thereby accelerate the translation of science discoveries into real-world applications that improve individual and community health and well-being.