The Research Career and Development Core (RCDC) promotes the development of independent investigators in interdisciplinary research on aging relevant to the independence of older Americans. This core emphasizes the competency-based development of research and leadership skills for translating basic findings into clinical research and clinical findings into basic research. Key to this approach is our partnerships with our university's NIH Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) and Veteran Affairs Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center (GRECC). Resources of this core are integrated with other internal and external sources for career support, such as NIH career development. Minority Supplement, and research awards, fellowships, non-NIH career and research awards, VA, and CTSI support. The RCDC supports the research training of Junior Scholars who span the spectrum from beginning trainees not yet funded, to advanced trainees who already have competed successfully for career development or grants that provide substantial salary support. Beginning Junior Scholars receive direct salary support from the RCDC to protect their time for career development and research during the crucial period of their development. Advanced Junior Scholars may already have sufficient salary support, but are eligible for RCDC mentorship, and staff, infrastructure and travel resources, and RCDC training activities. In our first year, we propose 6 Junior Scholars, several of whom have co-funding from key partners, their home departments, or early career funding. The overarching goal of the RCDC is to meet the objective of all OAlCs to recruit, select, and train talented Junior Scholars who are committed to translational science and to integrating clinical insights of health / disease and independence / disability in older adults with knowledge of the advances in the basic sciences to improve clinical interventions for maintaining health and independence. To achieve this goal, emphasis is placed on an interdisciplinary career development plan that generates combined knowledge from a diverse cadre of scientists (basic, translational, social, behavioral, epidemiological, and clinical). This entails utilization of the other OAIC core facilities: the Pilots &Exploratory Studies Core (PESC), Clinical Research Core (RCI), Metabolism &Biomarkers Core (RC2), Biostatistics &Data Management Core (RC3), and the Recruitment, Adherence, &Retention Core (RC4). Detailed career development plans are tailored for each proposed Junior Scholar supported by this core. Such plans include, but are not limited to, a) a research project integrated with the theme of this OAIC, which is sarcopenia and prevention of disability, b) a formal training strategy that stresses the integration of basic and clinical research and regular integration across the OAIC spectrum of research, c) a formal mentorship program that uses a team approach to foster basic and clinical science approaches, and d) a monitoring process to formally evaluate the progress of trainees using specific milestones of achievements.
The US population is aging. The elderly population will grow from 35 million in 2000 to 72 million in 2030, at which time they will make up almost 20% of the US population. The University of Florida OAIC RCDC helps prepare a future research workforce that can meaningfully contribute to the changing population demographic.
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