There are currently 26 NIAAA Institutional Research Training Programs located across the United States providing specialized instruction to over 100 predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees annually in multiple areas of alcohol research. These programs are supported by the NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Institutional Training Grant (T32) mechanism. In supporting T32s, NIAAA contributes to the production of highly trained young investigators committed to furthering their careers in alcohol research. The NIAAA Training Directors'Meeting and Trainee Workshop gathers experienced senior scientists directing these programs, promising trainees in various stages of their career development, and knowledgeable staff from NIAAA for a unique weekend training opportunity. These workshops have occurred biennially since 1999 and have previously been held in Indiana, Louisiana, and Rhode Island. This new R13 grant application is being submitted to support the next workshop in San Diego, California in October 2013. This R13 will support the production costs of the workshop and travel support for at least two trainees per training program who will be nominated by the Training Director(s) to represent their program and exhibit current research findings in poster or oral presentations. The trainee presentations will reflect the diversity of research being conducted by early- stage alcohol researchers across the nation. The workshop's agenda will include a mix of plenary keynotes by NIAAA staff and T32 Training Directors, trainee oral and poster presentations, and professional development seminars, panels and discussions. The objectives of the workshop are to promote trainee development and education, foster research collaborations and mentorships, expand the trainees'alcohol research knowledge base, build a strong biomedical workforce, inform trainees of current NIAAA initiatives and funding opportunities, and facilitate discussions to strengthen and support the training programs. Excessive alcohol use contributes to 79,000 deaths each year in the United States. In 2006, excessive alcohol consumption cost the US $223.5 billion, with 72% of the total cost resulting from losses in workplace productivity;11% health care expenses;9% law enforcement and other criminal justice expenses and 6% motor vehicle crash costs from impaired driving. Alcohol is the nation's 3rd leading lifestyle-related cause of death. NIAAA's investment in quality training helps ensure that high quality researchers are entering the workforce to address our nation's alcohol issues.
The biennial NIAAA Training Directors'Meeting and Trainee Workshop integrates alcohol researchers, NIAAA staff, and promising predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees for an intensive training and networking experience. The workshop allows for a discussion of ways to improve the T32 training experience and gives the trainees opportunities to learn about research from their peers, and ways to enhance their career development. The investment in quality training helps ensure that an adequate number of early investigators continue their pursuits to address our nation's alcohol issues, and also contributes to building a stellar and competitive biomedical workforce.