Our proposal is submitted to support a new Young Investigator Training Workshop to be held ahead of the annual meeting of the Perinatal Research Society (PRS). The PRS consists of pediatricians, obstetricians, and basic scientists who are actively engaged in perinatal research. The purpose of PRS is twofold, 1) to provide productive interchange between scientists of different disciplines sharing a common research interest in perinatal biology, and 2) to encourage development and collaboration opportunities for young investigators engaged in perinatal research. The annual PRS meeting provides a forum for collaborative exchanges, and an opportunity for young investigator participation, via the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)-supported Young Investigator program. The PRS Young Investigator program already offers select individuals the opportunity to attend the annual meeting. In 2012, our Young Investigator program was also expanded to include a Young Investigator Training Workshop preceding the PRS meeting. The experience jump-starts the grant writing process for young investigators, allowing them to generate a product while acquiring the required skill- set and understanding the viewpoint of NIH and the reviewer. The Young Investigator Training Workshop is a two day, fully immersive workshop that provides young investigators an opportunity to develop their grant proposal specific aims, significance statement, and innovation statement. Participant focus is placed on effective communication through clarity of writing and reinforced by oral presentation. Workshop goals are achieved using a model that shifts from teaching to learning by combining minimal didactic instruction with active learning. Young investigators write their own specific aims, significance statement, and innovation statement during the workshop and receive immediate one-on-one feedback from established faculty workshop mentors - all of whom are NIH funded.
The annual meeting of the Perinatal Research Society (PRS) establishes a forum in which common research interests at the cutting edge of perinatal medicine and developmental biology can be shared to full advantage by leading investigators in the disciplines of obstetrics, pediatrics, and various basic sciences. Each year the PRS also invites young investigators (those Trainees who are transitioning to independent careers, such as Postdoctoral Fellows through Junior Faculty) to join these national leaders in the field to both learn of new developments and informally discuss their own ideas in a forum that would very likely not be found at any other scientific meeting. A growing challenge to these young investigators in achieving independence is the ability to gain funding. To that end, a unique feature of the PRS is its full members have a great deal of experience with the grant process and indeed have unique insight from their long service on related review panels for NIH and related agencies. In 2012 PRS ran for the first time a pre meeting two day Young Investigator Training Workshop which not only teaches how to structure the science of an application for an award but also how to effectively communicate those ideas and the relevance of those ideas with the reviewer. The workshop is totally immersive with each applicant working on their own Specific Aims, Significance, and Innovation pages with repeated feedback from experienced faculty. The goal of this R13 application is to obtain funding for us to continue to run these pre-meeting workshops, and so help ensure a continued stream of future researchers who have dedicated themselves to a career in maternal fetal health.