Investing in the Future: National Institute of General Medical Sciences Strategic Plan for Biomedical and Behavioral Research Training 2011
Listening to Stakeholders
From the point of view of workplace needs, of course we need the product of our biomedical training to go into all kinds of careers.
—PARTICIPANT, NIGMS RESEARCH TRAINING STRATEGIC PLAN STAKEHOLDER MEETING
NIGMS organized several avenues through which it collected input from stakeholders, including faculty members, administrators, current and former predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees, industry representatives, representatives of professional and scientific organizations, and other interested parties. The venues included:
- An online questionnaire (open March 2 to April 21, 2010)
- Four regional stakeholder meetings:
- An online Webinar discussion on June 11, 2010
April 29, 2010, in Philadelphia, Pa.
May 12, 2010, in San Francisco, Calif.
May 25, 2010, in Chicago, Ill.
June 4, 2010, in Atlanta, Ga.
In all venues, NIGMS initiated discussion by asking participants to respond to the following seven questions:
- What constitutes "success" in biomedical research training from the perspectives of an individual trainee, an institution and society?
- What can NIGMS do to encourage an optimal balance of breadth and depth in research training?
- What can NIGMS do to encourage an appropriate balance between research productivity and successful outcomes for the mentor's trainees?
- What can NIGMS do through its training programs to promote and encourage greater diversity in the biomedical research workforce?
- Recognizing that students have different career goals and interests, should NIGMS encourage greater flexibility in training, and if so, how?
- What should NIGMS do to ensure that institutions monitor, measure and continuously improve the quality of their training efforts?
- Do you have other comments or recommendations regarding NIGMS-sponsored training?
NIGMS contracted with Ripple Effect Communications to attend all of the stakeholder meetings and the Webinar, and to independently read and verify all comments received in response to this request for information as the Institute developed this strategic plan. Ripple Effect's summary report is posted on the NIGMS Web site at http://publications.nigms.nih.gov/training/Training_Strategic_Plan_Summary.pdf.44 NIGMS received a robust response from the community-primarily from academia (administration, faculty, postdoctoral trainees and students) as well as professional societies (see Table 1). In total, the Institute received 1,653 responses from more than 300 people to its requests for input. However, despite attempts to engage industry in gathering input, the data collected as part of this process came primarily from the academic community. Because of the workforce issues uncovered throughout the analysis, receiving greater input from industry would have been preferable, and NIGMS continues to seek active, bidirectional communication with this group.
Table 1 Distribution of NIGMS Stakeholder Responses