For Immediate Release
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Contact:
Jilliene Mitchell
NIGMS Communications Office
301-496-7301

NIGMS issues its first strategic plan for research training

The National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), part of the National Institutes of Health, today issued Investing in the Future, a strategic plan for its biomedical and behavioral research training programs.

The plan considers training in the broadest sense, including not just activities supported on training grants and fellowships, but also those supported through research project grants. It strongly encourages the development of training plans in all research grant applications that request support for graduate students or postdoctoral trainees. It also endorses the use of individual development plans for these trainees as well as the overall importance of mentorship.

“NIGMS has a long-standing commitment to training future scientists and fostering a highly capable, diverse biomedical and behavioral research workforce,” said Jeremy M. Berg, Ph.D., NIGMS director. “This strategic planning process will help ensure that our training activities contribute most effectively to building the scientific workforce the nation needs for improving health and global competitiveness.”

NIGMS research training programs encompass the basic biomedical sciences, some clinically related areas and the interfaces between certain fields. The institute supports nearly half of the predoctoral trainees and a quarter of all trainees who receive NIH funding.

The strategic plan has four key themes:

  • Research training is a responsibility shared by NIH, academic institutions, faculty and trainees.
  • Research training focuses on student development, not simply the selection of talented students.
  • Breadth and flexibility enable research training to keep pace with the opportunities and demands of contemporary science and provide the foundation for a variety of career paths.
  • Diversity is an indispensable component of research training excellence, and it must be advanced across the entire research enterprise.

NIGMS developed the plan in a year-long process that included gathering input through a website, regional meetings and a Webinar. The institute heard from more than 300 stakeholders who included university faculty and administrators, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, representatives of professional societies and individuals from government and industry.

“We will begin implementing the plan’s action items right away. While there are some that we can address on our own, others will require collaboration among academic institutions, government agencies, professional organizations and additional stakeholders,” said Judith H. Greenberg, Ph.D., an NIGMS division director who led the training strategic planning effort. “We look forward to continued dialogue with these groups to achieve our mutual goals.”

The plan is available at http://publications.nigms.nih.gov/trainingstrategicplan/. To request a printed copy, send e-mail to info@nigms.nih.gov or call 301-496-7301.

To interview Dr. Jeremy M. Berg about the NIGMS strategic plan for research training, contact the NIGMS Office of Communications and Public Liaison at 301-496-7301. 

For more on NIGMS research training programs, see http://www.nigms.nih.gov/Training/.

NIGMS is a part of NIH that supports basic research to increase our understanding of life processes and lay the foundation for advances in disease diagnosis, treatment and prevention. For more information on the Institute's research and training programs, see http://www.nigms.nih.gov.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov.

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