Training programs in biomedical science were once directed towards careers in academic research. Now, innovative approaches to prepare for the current and ever-changing biomedical workforce must be considered. BU's BEST seeks to implement bold new initiatives to "re-engineer the training pipeline". Using analysis of the job market as the driver of professional development programming, BU's BEST will enable trainees to fulfill the needs, not only of the current market, but also the future biomedical workforce. The strengths of the new training paradigm are its strategic institutional partnerships and those within private and non-profit sectors as well as the framework to catalyze institutional change.
The aims are:
Aim I : To "re-engineer" biomedical training whereby the job market informs curriculum development. Groundbreaking tools and resources will be implemented to analyze workforce data with input from key stakeholders to guide and evolve curriculum design. State-of-the-art software will identify biomedical workforce jobs, job trends and skills required for various career pathways. Our evidence-based approach will also be informed by strategic insights from BU's BEST team of consultants that includes an internal advisory committee comprised of BU faculty and staff, an external advisory committee of leaders in non-academic biomedically-related professions and BU alumni. Evaluation outcomes will be monitored and assessed annually and used to direct development of specific training resources and approaches.
Aim 2 : To develop a curriculum to prepare trainees for future careers. A framework will be implemented that provides doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers the opportunity to consider, explore and gain experience in achieving their individual goals. Importantly, exciting, new software will be developed in collaboration with our partners to enable trainees to identify and work toward their goals. With strong advising/mentoring, trainees will be exposed to a curriculum of foundational/professional skills and career options via coursework, workshops, career panels as well as hybrid online modules. Graduate students and postdoctoral researchers will be able to enhance their interests through a wealth of options via existing and planned coursework, and participation in shadowing experiences with a network of faculty, administrators, alumni and industry partners. Finally, trainees will have opportunities to further develop their interests by participation in internships, teaching and/or formal academic training (certificate or MA/MS degrees).
Aim 3 : To advance a university culture that engages faculty in a new training paradigm. Developing a curriculum for trainees is of limited value if the institutiona culture is not supportive i.e. if the faculty does not support trainees who want to explore options An essential part of our plan is to use strategies that specifically target barriers to attaining ad sustaining success. Institutional strategies to support a culture shift and recognition of effectiv mentoring are presented. The BU's BEST plan is transformational and impactful in that program elements lend themselves to easy adaptation by other institutions.
In order to maintain the nation's scientific competiveness, it is critical to attract, prepare and engage a well- trained workforce. The focus of Boston University's BEST program is to ensure that trainees have access to knowledge and skills regarding opportunities for a variety of careers in the biomedical workforce. This in turn will benefit sociey and enhance the quality of human of health.