Works-in-progress: Guiding junior scientists through career development applications
Background. Career development awards are important to the professional careers of many junior scientists. Designed to launch researchers as independent scientists earlier in their careers, such grants release them from full schedules of teaching and clinical service, protecting their time for research and publishing. Yet few know how best to embark on this crucial endeavor. Methods. We pilot tested a faculty-facilitated, biweekly working group for postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty preparing career development applications. Based on their needs and interests, sessions included didactic activities, structured panel discussions, identification of resources, and individual guidance. For those unable to attend regularly, e-mail kept them informed of information shared and lessons learned, as summarized by participants on a rotating basis. Results. Although success in terms of funded applications is yet unknown, preliminary evaluation suggests high satisfaction among the participants. Conclusions. Ultimately, if successful, a low-cost, easy-to-administer working group approach such as this can add great value to any training program.
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