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.
Based on recommendations from the Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD) Working Group on Biomedical Workforce, the Common Fund has launched a new program to expand the training opportunities for early career scientists to prepare them for entry into the dynamic biomedical workforce landscape. This Common Fund program is one component of a broader NIH strategy to address workforce needs. The following initiative has been developed within the Common Fund program on Strengthening the Biomedical Research Workforce:
- NIH Director’s Workforce Innovation Award to Enhance Biomedical Research Training: These awards, also called the Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training (BEST) awards, will provide support for institutions to develop innovative approaches to complement traditional research training in biomedical sciences. Institutions will be encouraged to partner with industry or other entities to provide a wealth of diverse training opportunities for their trainees, and the awardees will form a network to share experiences and determine best practices. Novel training approaches will be rigorously analyzed to assess impact, and proven approaches will be widely disseminated throughout the community.
Other recommendations from the ACD are being implemented through adjustments to ongoing training programs across the NIH. These initiatives include requiring Individual Development Plans (IDPs) for all trainees on NIH grants, increasing postdoctoral stipends and benefits, increasing the number of K99/R00 awards, developing a tracking system for trainees, making changes to peer review to recognize a number of different career outcomes, and creating a functional unit at NIH to assess biomedical research workforce.
This page last reviewed on June 23, 2017