NIGMS releases strategic plan for research training

APA will continue to collaborate with NIGMS and seek input from its expert members

The National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), part of the National Institutes of Health, has issued Investing in the Future (PDF, 1.3MB), a strategic plan for its biomedical and behavioral research training programs.  APA submitted comments (PDF, 44KB) last year to help inform the development of the plan. An article in Psychological Science Agenda from May, 2010, explains the context of the comments. NIGMS is sometimes called, “NIH’s training institute.” NIGMS supports nearly half of the predoctoral trainees and a quarter of all trainees who receive NIH funding. NIGMS’s planning efforts can be expected to be very influential given its heavy investment in training.

The strategic plan has four key themes: 

  1. Research training is a responsibility shared by NIH, academic institutions, faculty and trainees. 

  2. Research training focuses on student development, not simply the selection of talented students.

  3. 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.

  4. Diversity is an indispensable component of research training excellence, and it must be advanced across the entire research enterprise.

The plan attaches specific actions to each of the four themes. For example, under the fourth theme, the NIGMS plan articulates the following step: “Action: Establish and apply high standards for institutions to actively recruit, effectively mentor and diligently nurture students through the completion of their programs. NIGMS will articulate clear diversity expectations in all NIGMS-sponsored funding mechanisms, not just formal training grants. In addition to bolstering the recruitment of students from underrepresented groups, NIGMS urges institutions and their faculty to implement approaches that follow and support students throughout their research training so that trainees are competitive to enter the scientific workforce.” 

APA will continue to collaborate with NIGMS, and seek input from its expert members, as NIGMS implements the provisions of the strategic plan.