Current pre- and postdoctoral training in the biomedical sciences effectively trains rising scientists within a narrow scope of laboratory-based skills. Unfortunately, the training hasn't changed to teach other skills- communications, management, entrepreneurship and more-that have become increasingly vital for successful careers in science. And such skills are particularly essential for the nine out of 10 Ph.D.-level scientists who ultimately pursue work outside the traditional academic tenure track. The Whole Scientist Program (WSP), as proposed, provides robust training at The Jackson Laboratory (JAX) for pre- and postdoctoral learners in necessary skills not taught in traditional biomedical training programs. It combines classroom learning with applied practicums to help learners develop capability and confidence in teaching, management and communications. It will also expose learners to a wide variety of rewarding professional scientific careers outside the academic tenure track. JAX is an ideal venue for the course, as its many facets-mouse model development and distribution, database management, core scientific services, etc.-provide varied examples of rewarding scientific careers and excellent practicum instructors on-site. The WSP will be offered to learners both within and outside JAX and will enhance the traditional core training programs offered by learners' home institutions. It will also be developed as an on-line course to expand its outreach. The course's effectiveness at teaching diverse skills and impact on learners' career paths will be carefully assessed and tracked at defined intervals, with feedback incorporated into future course offerings.
Training for the next generation of biomedical researchers has retained a narrow, academic focus even as the demands and opportunities facing Ph.D. scientists have significantly changed. The proposed course will train a broad cross section of early-stage scientists in teaching, management and communication to improve their ability to reach outside the laboratory to pursue non-traditional career and/or collaborative options. The course will facilitate the development of a more diverse, innovative and collaborative workforce and prepare it to bridge the gaps between biomedical laboratory discovery and the delivery of better methods and therapeutics to the clinic.