NIGMS to Develop Strategic Plan on Research Training

The goal of the strategic plan, according to National Institute of General Medical Sciences Director Jeremy Berg, is to examine existing activities and articulate strategies to help the Institute build and sustain a workforce.

At the winter meeting of the Advisory Council to the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) on January 22, director Jeremy Berg announced the Institute's intention to develop a strategic plan focused on research training.  NIGMS is widely considered to be the “training institute” at NIH, by virtue of the number, and breadth of its programs, which include the Ruth Kirschstein National Research Service Awards.
 
The goal of the strategic plan, according to Berg, is to examine existing activities and articulate strategies to help the Institute build and sustain a workforce.  Two internal NIGMS workgroups are wrestling with core assumptions, the distinctive features of an ideal training model, and potential obstacles. For example, a widely held assumption is that the mark of a successful training program is for the trainee to compete successfully for an R01 award – Berg suggested that assumption might need to be examined.  The Institute will seek stakeholder input via a website in spring of 2010.  It will also hold meetings across the country in San Francisco, CA; Chicago, IL; Philadelphia, PA; and Atlanta, GA.  The plan will be drafted in late summer, 2010 and finalized before the end of 2010.
 
Berg said that NIGMS intends to issue a Request for Information (RFI) seeking responses to several questions from the stakeholder community, including: 

  1. What constitutes success in biomedical research training from the perspective of an individual trainee, an Institute, and society? 

  2. What can NIGMS do to encourage an optimal balance of breadth and depth in research training? 

  3. What can NIGMS do to encourage an appropriate balance between research productivity and other training activities for mentors' trainees? 

  4. What can NIGMS do through its training programs to promote and encourage greater diversity (broadly defined) in the biomedical research workforce? 

  5. Recognizing that students have different career goals and interests, should NIGMS encourage greater flexibility in training, and if so, how? 

  6. What should NIGMS do to ensure that the Institute monitor, measure, and continuously improve the quality of its training efforts?

APA will solicit input from its expert members to respond to the RFI.  Please plan ahead so that you can share your views when the RFI is released in the next three months.  Read about NIGMS’s current training programs here.