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Activities and Career Development

A range of programs is offered to support trainees in their academic and professional development and to complement the mentored experience that trainees have at the bench, the bedside, or both.

The activities and resources provided by the NICHD Division of Intramural Research (DIR) Office of Education include:

Annual Meeting of Postdoctoral, Clinical, and Visiting Fellows and Graduate Students

Every spring since the Office of Education was established, the fellows and graduate students of the NICHD have organized an annual meeting or retreat. About 100 trainees participate, and everyone presents a poster. You meet new fellows, exchange ideas, network, and learn from presenters and one another in this protected time away from your laboratory and clinical responsibilities.

The meeting is organized by a Steering Committee of fellows and graduate students who determine the theme for the meeting, work to identify speakers, build a program, judge abstracts, select the winner of the "best scientific image" competition, introduce speakers and moderate sessions, and in all build a set of administrative and leadership skills through this experience.

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Monthly Newsletter for Fellows

The Office of Education helps produce The NICHD Connection, a monthly newsletter for and by NICHD fellows. Highlights of the publication include seminar/workshop recaps, follow-up with former fellows, feature articles written by NICHD fellows, important announcements and events, as well as recognition of remarkable achievements by NICHD fellows. Many of the issues have a career development theme, an important topic in the fellow community.

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Professional Development Programs

Your primary research experience and professional growth as a fellow, whether postdoctoral or clinical, will be gained in the laboratory and clinics working alongside your mentors and other members of the laboratory or patient-care team. To build and expand on this central experience, the Office of Education offers a range of activities each year from which you may benefit.

These include the following, some on a rotating basis:

  • Writing classes

  • Editorial service
    • Grant writing
    • Online scientific writing classes

  • Public speaking
    • Presentation skills
    • Job interview preparation
    • One-on-one coaching

  • Careers
    • Lunchtime sessions with NIH scientific professionals
    • Alumni speakers and panels
    • Notification of job openings
    • Review and editing of C.V., resume, and cover letter
    • Annual job fair (NIH-wide)

  • Teaching
    • Skills workshops (curriculum design, technology, active learning)
    • "Becoming an Effective Scientist" course for postbaccalaureate fellows, a 12-week lecture and journal club series offered by postdocs and clinical fellows
    • Teaching workshop and collaboration with the Honors College Integrated Life Sciences (ILS) Program at the University of Maryland

  • Grants
    • Grantsmanship workshops
    • Study section training to learn about the grant review process
    • Practical guidance in the preparation of applications
    • Individualized coaching and editing of applications
    • Reference materials and sessions with NICHD extramural staff

  • Awards
    • FIGS: Fellows Intramural Grants Supplement, a financial incentive for fellows applying for grant support valued at $30,000 or higher
    • Fellows Award for Research Excellence, annual NIH competition
    • Abstract competition to be a speaker at the annual NICHD fellows' meeting; annual competition for the image used on the poster and website
    • K99/R00 Career Development Awards, to support your transition to academic research

Subscription to BioCareers

BioCareers provides an in-depth look at various career paths in the sciences and maintains a jobs board, which has over 1,400 listings for biomedical scientists and MDs in a variety of career paths.

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Supporting Diversity

The NICHD Division of Intramural Research is committed to train, support, and sustain a diverse cohort of individuals traditionally underrepresented in science.

Established in 2011, the NICHD Developing Talent Program provides a superlative research and mentoring experience to scholars (postbaccalaureate fellows and graduate students) while tailoring an academic and professional development plan to the needs of the individual. In addition to scholars having the opportunity to work in an NICHD lab, contributing to the lab's research, the program exposes trainees to all of the Division of Intramural Research activities, committees, and retreats on team science, leadership and management, teaching, public speaking, and grant writing. Scholars are encouraged to enhance their networking skills, fostering collaborations across the institute and NIH. Through the program's alumni liaison, career guidance and mentorship also are provided to the scholars, on a continuing basis, in support of their continued professional advancement.

Typically, two trainees per year are funded as NICHD Scholars.

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