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Program Snapshot

The NIH is committed to supporting a sustainable and robust workforce equipped to address the greatest challenges and opportunities in biomedical research, recognizing that traditional research-intensive positions are not the only means by which PhD graduates can meaningfully contribute to the biomedical research enterprise. To address this need, the Common Fund has launched the “Strengthening the Biomedical Research Workforce” program as one component of a trans-NIH strategy to enhance training opportunities for early career scientists to prepare them for a variety of career options in the dynamic biomedical workforce landscape.

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Program Highlights

Early Report on the BEST Consortium

Members of the BEST consortium and NIH staff overseeing the BEST awards have published a paper describing the early experiences of the consortium and the scope of BEST programs. This report highlights how the 17 awardee institutions are sharing their experiences and working together to disseminate what they are learning to the scientific training community.

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BEST PI Awarded for Inspiring Journey to Biomedical Research Success

Image of a Zebrafish BrainDr. Avery August, a P.I. of a Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training (BEST) award, part of the Common Fund’s Strengthening the Biomedical Research Workforce Program, has been awarded the 2014 E.E. Just Lecture Award from the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB). This award is given each year in honor of Ernest Everett Just (1883-1941), one of the first African-Americans to earn a doctorate in biology, and recognizes a scientist from an underrepresented background who has demonstrated outstanding scientific achievement. As a P.I. in the BEST program, Dr. August is using his success and insights as a scientist to help prepare early career scientists for a variety of career options in the modern biomedical research workforce through broadening their career and skill development outside  traditional training.

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Atlanta’s BEST Program Provides Hands-on Communication Experience

Trainees in the Atlanta area’s Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training (BEST) program, part of the Common Fund’s Strengthening the Biomedical Research Workforce Program, developed an online newsletter highlighting their experiences in the program. The newsletter not only showcases the program but also helps trainees develop valuable communication skills. Read more about BEST trainee’s experiences in their newsletter including leadership development, the art of negotiation, job interview tips, and encouraging creativity.

Reference: http://issuu.com/atlantabest

Allowable Student and Postdoc Activities

Questions about what activities students and postdoctoral scholars can participate in? Read more about it here:

Additional Resources and Information

Read more about NIH efforts to develop and test new approaches to training and mentoring on a large scale to diversify the Biomedical Workforce

Read more about Rescuing Biomedical Research

BEST PI receives E.E. Just Lecture Award from the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB)

National Academies Report Urges Significant Reforms to Improve the Training and Salary of Postdoctoral Researchers

Nature Editorial "There is life after academia"

Read more about the activities of the NIH Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD) Working Group on the Biomedical Research Workforce here.

Download the Science Careers 2014 Career Handbook

Broadening Experiences In Scientific TrainingThe NIH's Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training program partnered with the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) on  a three-part webinar series. Topics included:

Careers in industry

Charting a course to career success

Building Professional relationships: pragmatic advice for the human scientist

Find recorded webinars and download slides here.



Visit the New Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training (BEST) Awardee Website!

The BEST Consortium has launched its consortium website! This website contains information about the consortium, research, resources, upcoming events, and more. Visit this site at Nihbest.org, and be sure to check back often as new content is added and updated! 

For information on individual BEST site programs, please visit:

Boston University - BU's BEST 

Cornell University - Cornell University BEST Training Program

Emory University and Georgia Institute of Technology - Beyond the Professoriate: Transforming Pathways for Biomedical Research Careers  

New York University School of Medicine - NYU STEP  

Michigan State University - MSU BEST  

Rutgers University - iJOBS Program

University of California Davis - Frontiers of University Training to Unlock the Research Enterprise (FUTURE)

University of California San Francisco - Motivating INformed Decisions (MIND): Careers for the Future Biomedical Workforce 

University of California Irvine- UC Irvine-Graduate Professional Success (UCI-GPS)

University of Colorado Denver Anschutz Medical Campus- Innovative Biomedical Graduate Training for Workforce Readiness   

University of Chicago- myChoice

University of Massachusetts Medical School - An Integrated Curriculum and Community-Based Approach to Career Development 

University of North Carolina - Training Initiatives in Biomedical and Biological Science

University of Rochester-Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training Program (URBEST)

Vanderbilt University Medical Center - Vanderbilt ASPIRE Program  

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University - Mentorship and Development Program for Biomedical Trainees 
Wayne State University - Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training (BEST) 




























Learn more about recent efforts by the University of Michigan to discuss the Future of Bioscience Graduate and Postdoctoral Training  with stakeholders, including representatives of academic institutions, funding agencies, trainees, scientific societies to discuss the biomedical workforce and review Common Fund Program Leader Dr. Trish Labosky's presentation on : "Innovations in Training"



National Reports on Graduate Education and Training

The Path Forward: The Future of Graduate Education in the United States, Commission on the Future of Graduate Education in the United States, 2010

Pathways Through Graduate School and Into Careers, Council of Graduate Schools, 2012

Biomedical Research Workforce Working Group Report, National Institutes of Health, 2012

Advancing Graduate Education in the Chemical Sciences, American Chemical Society, 2012

Research Universities and the Future of America, National Research Council, 2012


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