201701 Reproductive Scientist Development Program (RSDP)

Program seeks Council approval to continue the Reproductive Scientist Development Program (RSDP). This National Career Development Program trains clinician-scientists who plan to pursue academic careers conducting research in reproductive science fields.

The NICHD established the RSDP in 1988 with the goal of developing clinician scientists who are committed to fundamental biomedical research careers. Ninety-seven scholars, 83 former and 14 current, have participated in the RSDP to date. Of the 83 former scholars, 78% remain in faculty or research-related positions. RSDP Scholars pursue training in two distinct phases at institutions with established academic departments in reproductive science and medicine. During Phase I, scholars engage in intensive basic science training at outstanding research laboratories around the country. In Phase II, trainees begin establishing their research programs in preparation for transitioning to independent investigators. Previously, research areas have encompassed the fields of reproductive endocrinology infertility, genetics, maternal-fetal-medicine, gynecologic oncology, family medicine, and contraception.

Numerous reports have outlined the challenges facing clinician-scientists, including those who wish to pursue careers in reproductive health, and the training needs for the 21st Century. These challenges include federal budgetary constraints for research support, academic departmental pressures that prioritize clinical practice over basic research, and the extended time to research independence. In addition the NICHD Reproduction Visioning Report identified training physician-scientists, especially Ob-Gyns, in basic research to promote rapid translation to clinical practice as a continued priority area.

Thus, the Fertility and Infertility (FI) Branch seeks to continue the RSDP in order to continue making strides in training the next cadre of physician-scientists who are prepared to pursue cutting-edge fundamental research careers in the reproductive sciences.

Program Contact

Lou De Paolo
Fertility and Infertility Branch

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