Traditional biomedical research training programs fail to adequately prepare trainees for the full diversity of careers that they will ultimately experiene in the biomedical workforce. The UR Broadened Experiences in Scientific Training (URBEST) program will therefore provide a flexible, autonomy-supportive learning program that allows pre- and post-doctoral trainees to better prepare themselves for diverse career paths. Unlike traditional graduate curricula, which often have rigidly defined course requirements, the URBEST program will establish highly flexible educational pathways, curricula and experiential learning opportunities that allow trainees to meet their own self-defined learning needs. Foundational instruction in leadership and professionalism will be combioned with access to educational programs and aligned experiential learning opportunities in three URBEST Training Pathways. As trainees progress through these Pathways, they will participate in common, shared experiences that will include training in the Communication of Science, an Annual Retreat, and a Career Stories seminar series. Internship and externship programs will provide hands- on experiences relevant to diverse careers, both within the University and in partnership with a broad range of private sector companies, government and science policy organizations. URBEST will also implement mentoring practices that better support diverse career outcomes. We will mentor our mentors through: (a) a Program Orientation Session that will delineate the goals of the URBEST program, (b) instruction in Autonomy Supportive Mentoring and the use of Individual Development Programs (IDPs) and (c) a Faculty Development Workshop Series that will promulgate best mentoring practices. We will also mentor our mentees, using approaches that are expected to encourage diverse career options, and we will actively facilitate the on-boarding of trainees in their first position post-UR. First, a URBEST Trainee Network will be established to provide a robust community of scholars that trainees can leverage for peer mentoring support during their time at UR, and for long-term support throughout their careers. Second, an Alumni Mentoring Network will be established, and trainees will be partnered with UR alumni in career sectors of interest. Third, we establish an Extended Individualized Career Mentoring Program to provide continued mentoring support for URBEST trainees after they leave UR. Finally, we will rigorously evaluate our program, and disseminate our model. A comprehensive evaluation and assessment of the URBEST program and its participating trainees and faculty will be structured around three key areas: (1) trainee and faculty participation, (2) URBEST curriculum, and (3) assessment of URBEST trainees. Short-, intermediate- and long- term measures of progress will be evaluated in all areas. In addition, continuous program assessment will be used improve and refine URBEST, and to ensure that it accomplishes its goals. Finally, we will develop a plan for the sustainability and dissemination of our training model.
Traditional biomedical research training programs fail to adequately prepare trainees for the full diversity of careers that they will ultimately pursue as part of the biomedical workforce. The UR Broadened Experiences in Scientific Training (URBEST) program will therefore provide a flexible, integrated and autonomy-supportive learning program that allows pre- and post-doctoral biomedical research trainees to prepare themselves for the diverse paths that they can expect to pursue during their careers.