Traditional graduate and medical programs provide researchers with program-specific background, training, and scientific expertise, but they fail to provide students with the breadth of knowledge and interdisciplinary understanding required to successfully translate basic science discoveries into clinical outcomes. Translational investigators trained within these programs have historically overcome this by engaging in "team science" to assemble the scientific expertise needed for a translational project. Inspired by changing trends in the conduct of biomedical science research, and in efforts to encourage young faculty to participate in translational team projects, the NIH revised its criteria for faculty tenure to acknowledge the importance and contributions of team science in 2006. Despite this adaptation, many individual institutions have been slow to adopt these policies and thus young faculty are often conflicted due to contradictions between the metrics of success in team science and those by which they are evaluated in the traditional academic tenure career path. To complicate the matter, recent U.S. labor statistics indicate that while the number of PhDs granted over the past 10 years has doubled in the biomedical fields, the number of tenure-based faculty positions has remained constant. This concerning trend is further exacerbated by recent layoffs in industry-based drug discovery departments and decreases in federal and state funding. Inevitably, the simple laws of supply and demand are making it more competitive (and difficult) to secure and maintain academic tenure positions. The culmination of these contradictions and pressures is negatively impacting translational research in the academic environment. The DTMI-CTHD believes that the broad spectrum training delineated herein would better prepare translational scientists to compete in the current market, foster successful academic research careers, and ultimately allow participants to facilitate translational research and contribute to the translational research community in a variety of capacities.
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