We seek continued R25 funding for the Neuroscience Roadmap Scholars (RMS) Program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Although the number of U.S. citizens from underrepresented minority (URM) groups earning doctoral degrees in science has increased over the past decade, URMs continue to represent a small proportion of the scientists in the United States. Our Neuroscience Roadmap Scholars Program targets the obstacles impeding success with the goal of increasing the number of trainees from diverse backgrounds in neuroscience research by providing them with the necessary tools and skills early in their PhD careers essential to making neuroscience research a life-long career choice. The specific ?value added? components of the Program include the annual southeast regional NEURAL (National Enhancement of Under Represented Academic Leaders) summer conference for UAB students and neuroscience doctoral students from across the country, interactions with Career Coaches who provide support separate from the Scholar?s Research mentor, team building retreats, peer-to peer mentoring and undergraduate mentoring, and distinct curricular and extracurricular activities. With continued investment in Neuroscience at UAB by the School of Medicine and the Comprehensive Neuroscience Center, the future of the Neuroscience Roadmap Scholars Program is secure, and Scholars will benefit from the vibrant neuroscience environment that has attracted $96M in extramural funding. Success of the Program during the first award period is substantiated by the greater than expected enrollment and participation by underrepresented students training in neuroscience at UAB, the success in securing extramural fellowship awards by Scholars, and the 83% matriculation of graduates to postdoctoral fellowships compared to 67% of other biomedical science students. Goals for the next funding period are informed by this success, and input from Scholars, Career Coaches, and internal and external evaluation.
The Neuroscience Roadmap Scholars Program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham focuses on increasing diversity in the neuroscience workforce through providing outstanding educational support, training, and professional development for neuroscience doctoral student trainees. This enhanced support for these qualified and talented under-represented trainees will provide the skills needed to increase future academic leaders in the neurosciences.
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