I am pleased to share two new research opportunities that will advance the development of biomedical researchers. It is no small feat when programs of this nature come to fruition. These opportunities have become available through the efforts of dedicated teams of faculty, administrators, grant writers, researchers and program managers who construct and administer these novel programs.
First is the “Frontiers of University Training to Unlock the Research Enterprise” (FUTURE) program at UC Davis, which is focused on expanding professional growth opportunities for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. FUTURE is funded by the NIH Director’s Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training (BEST) initiative, which recognizes that the traditional academic path that serves as the current model for biomedical research training does not fully prepare scientists for the broad array of career opportunities available in industry, business, government and other non-academic settings. The program is designed to enrich current training experiences and enhance less commonly nurtured skills and competencies, including communication across disciplines, entrepreneurial thinking and knowledge transfer. Through partnerships with institutional leaders, industry and other organizations, the program will enable trainees to cultivate critical specialized skill sets needed to thrive in a broad range of biomedical careers. One of only 10 in the nation, this new NIH grant was awarded to UC Davis in October 2013 and is led by a team of three principal investigators, Drs. Fred Meyers, Andy Hargadon and myself (www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/publish/news/newsroom/8400).
Second, a team of representatives from UC BRAID (Biomedical Research Acceleration, Integration and Development) established the UC Center for Accelerated Innovation (UC CAI), one of only three centers funded by NHLBI (http://uccai.ctsi.ucla.edu/). This program leverages the expertise and resources of the five UC medical campuses. Using industrial product-development practices to incubate technologies with high commercial potential, a rich research base supports a diverse pipeline of diagnostics, devices, therapeutics and tools for heart, lung and blood diseases.
The UC CAI program, administered by UCLA, has four goals: 1) Engage University of California heart, lung and blood disease innovators in entrepreneurism through a comprehensive education, training and mentorship program; 2) Solicit and select technologies with high commercial potential that align with the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s mission and respond to unmet medical needs or significant scientific opportunity; 3) Incubate our most promising technologies in accordance with industry requirements to facilitate their transition to commercial products that improve patient care and enhance health; and 4) Create a high-performing sustainable infrastructure that will serve as a model for academic research centers.
I encourage investigators and scholars/trainees to explore new ground and take advantage of these resources as they seek to advance their research and career development. For more information about the FUTURE program, contact Dr. Jennifer Greenier (firstname.lastname@example.org), director of program development, and for more information on UC CAI, contact Dr. Laura Marcu, College of Engineering (email@example.com). The UC Davis CTSC website offers additional details about the UC CAI (http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/ctsc/area/translationalresearch/UCCAI.html).