Cyber Mentors: A Sustainable Model for Developing Minority HIV Researchers The Cyber Mentors: A Sustainable Model for Developing Minority HIV Researchers project is designed to develop an innovative and sustainable research mentorship program to prepare promising researchers who have not yet received R01 level funding, and who are either from underrepresented groups and/or are interested in HIV/AIDS research with racial and ethnic groups that are overrepresented with HIV/AIDS, to develop successful independent careers in HIV/AIDS prevention research. The program will utilize state of the art distance learning technologies to prepare mentees to submit a high quality NIH grant application and to facilitate developing professional relationships with senior-level mentors to support their research efforts. Three cohorts of 15 mentee/mentor pairs will participate in the two-year mentorship program over the course of three years. The focus of the third and final cohort, which will begin in Year 3 and continue after the end of the funding period, will be on demonstrating the sustainability of the program. The Cyber Mentors program will match mentees with volunteer mentors who are leaders in the field of HIV/AIDS, research who have a track record of receiving NIH-supported R01 grants. One-on-one mentoring, which will take place via phone, email, and face-to-face meetings, will have two general goals: 1) developing and implementing a career development plan focused on building the strengths of the mentee to conduct independent research, and 2) developing and submitting a high quality research funding application to NIH. Mentee/mentor pairs will be provided with up to $5,000 to support research or career development activities (e.g., preliminary data collection, attending conferences and workshops, purchasing needed research hardware and software etc.). In addition to one-on-one mentoring, mentees will participate in a sequenced series of online career development seminars and small group discussions. Seminars will cover various research, methodology, and administrative topics relevant to research careers. At bimonthly small group workshops, mentees will then apply the concepts and skills learned in the seminars into developing their own proposals. Mentees will also participate in two mock peer reviews where their grant applications will be reviewed by outside experts and scored, with feedback in these mock sessions mimicking NIH review. Mentees will revise their proposals in response to the mock review and resubmit the revised proposal for a second round of mock review. By the end of the two-year mentorship period, mentees in the Cyber Mentors program will: (1) assess their capacity to submit a high-quality grant application and their capacity to conduct a successful career as an HIV/AIDS researcher;(2) develop and implement a career development plan to address relative weaknesses identified during the self-assessment process;(3) identify an NIH funding mechanism through which they will apply for funding;and, (4) draft a high-quality research proposal to be submitted to NIH in the area of HIV/AIDS prevention with racial and ethnic groups that are overrepresented with HIV/AIDS.
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