We propose a visionary post-doctoral program in research and academic career mentoring that unites the enthusiasm of new post-doctoral fellows, the dedication of our established faculty, and a top academic environment to create an integrated transformative traineeship and leadership program. This program "Collaborative Opportunities for Research Educators" (CORE) will build on emerging research strengths of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Texas at Austin and academic excellence at UT-Austin and two minority-serving undergraduate partner institutions, including St Edward's University and Southwestern University. Our program will train the next generation of future scientific leaders to pursue academic careers in biomedical science and also foster changes in science education by implementing a new paradigm for research-centric learning at the undergraduate level. The educational component is modeled on an innovative program established at UT-Austin termed the Freshman Research Initiative that couples intensive training and research-focused mentoring of freshmen with integrated transition into thematic research streams. The four major cornerstones of our program include: i) post-doctoral participation in NIH-supported research projects at UT-Austin, ii) development of collaborative research opportunities between UT-Austin and two local undergraduate institutions, iii) training of the post-doctoral fellows as research-educators, and iv) translation of research-oriented training at the freshmen level to the partner undergraduate institutions. A lasting impact of our program is the dynamic merging of post-doctoral and undergraduate research with the hypothesis that cultivating research-intensive education at the undergraduate level will enhance recruitment and retention of under-represented students in science. Three postdoctoral fellows will be recruited the first year and four more in each of the second and third years, with each postdoctoral term spanning three years (and an optional four year supported by the research mentor). Our CORE program will provide other professional development activities that include a CORE boot camp, a Journey to Academia workshop, a grantsmanship workshop, training in the responsible conduct of research, development of lab-specific safety practices, a spring symposium to facilitate networking opportunities, an internal grant competition for the postdoctoral fellows to gain support for their own undergraduate research projects, a lecture videotaping session, and a series on lab management. A target of 50% minority participation, as well as 50% female participation, has been established for the proposed CORE program and qualified applicants are those who have completed a doctorate in chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, or a closely related field and express a strong interest in academic careers.
This postdoctoral program will train the next generation of future scientific leaders to pursue academic careers in biomedical science and also foster changes in science education by implementing a new paradigm for research-centric learning at the undergraduate level.
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