This is a proposal to request funding for 15 travel awards to be competitively awarded to early stage investigators presenting substance use research at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association (APA), and to highlight their research in a special poster session and networking event. This event, called the ?Early Stage Investigator Poster Session and Social Hour,? has been taking place at the annual convention of the APA for the past twelve years, and has been co-sponsored by APA Divisions 50 and 28, made possible through funding from NIAAA and NIDA. Funding from NIAAA has been formalized for the past 12 years through an R13 award, for which I have been serving as PI for the past 2 years. Funding from NIDA for this event has taken several forms over the years, including a recent R13, which is ending in January 2019. This proposal is submitted to continue this successful, well-regarded and unique event.
The aim to foster the career development of early stage investigators is in line with NIDA's Strategic Plan. Namely, highlighting, nurturing, and supporting the professional development of early stage investigators will assist in NIDA's commitment to encourage the transition to independence of the future custodians of our profession. The rationale for targeting the APA convention is twofold. First, psychologists make up a major constituency in the scientific community of substance use researchers and on topics related to substance use. Second, virtually all psychologists' work is directly or indirectly affected by issues related to substance use, providing a unique opportunity to communicate substance research to the larger scientific and clinical community. The APA is the largest organization of psychologists and their trainees in the United States and its annual convention attracts an average of 13,000 attendees. This means the meeting represents an ideal opportunity to advance substance use research and foster career development among trainees. The goal of this project is to foster the development of the next generation of substance use researchers from the psychological community by (1) providing the means necessary to attend the APA convention, (2) showcasing their research, and (3) stimulating networking with leading scientists. To date, the ?Early Stage Investigator Poster Session and Social Hour? has been highly successful in meeting these objectives over the past 12 years. The goal for the proposed project is to sustain these contributions to the field.
This project contributes to public health by supporting early career substance use researchers in the context of the American Psychological Association's annual convention. The project will support the pipeline of new researchers developing careers in substance use research. In addition, the activities in this application will promote greater awareness of new findings within the scientific community and to the broader community of psychologists.