Research Training and Career Development Branch, DEA, NIDCR
The goal of the initiative is to sustain and strengthen a robust and diverse biomedical research workforce dedicated to improving dental, oral, and craniofacial health. Objectives of the initiative are to provide novel and innovative research training experiences through institutional training grants that offer integrated and multidisciplinary training opportunities in dental, oral and craniofacial research. The institutional programs are comprehensive, having the flexibility to support predoctoral dual degree (DDS/DMD and PhD) trainees; predoctoral PhD trainees; and postdoctoral trainees, including non-citizen dentists.
The NIDCR’s new strategic plan 2014–2019 details the Institute’s commitment to support education, scholarship and research training across a spectrum of career levels and types of institutions, and to collaborate with academic institutions, especially schools of dentistry, to create research pathways for faculty and trainees, inclusive of individuals from diverse backgrounds and life experiences.
The Institutional training programs provide one pathway for predoctoral and postdoctoral students to pursue full-time mentored research training. These programs allow the Training Program Director to select trainees and develop a program appropriate for the trainee’s career level. The duration of training, the transition of trainees to individual support mechanisms, and their transition to the next career stage are important considerations in institutional training programs.
The NIDCR issued its first comprehensive T32 Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) in 2000 and subsequent FOAs in 2005 and 2010, each with modification based on programmatic priorities. A 2008 report to the NADCR Council on NIDCR research training and career development programs influenced the development of the 2010 announcements (PAR 10-171 and PAR 10-170 ) and the types of research training supported by the NIDCR. Notable changes included an emphasis on encouraging trainees to transition to individual support mechanisms. This was based on data showing that trainees supported by an individual fellowship (F) were more likely to achieve subsequent success in obtaining independent NIH research funding, particularly with respect to R01s, than those supported by an institutional training grant (T32). This finding was consistent with historical NIH-wide data (2006 Career Achievements of NRSA Postdoctoral Trainees and Fellows: 1975–2004). Another change was the addition of a new FOA, PAR 10-170, under the T90/R90 grant activity to provide Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA institutional “research training” programs (T90) coupled with non-NRSA “research education” programs (R90). The R90 component provided the flexibility to support individuals who are not US citizens or permanent residents. This new T90/R90 announcement complemented the PAR 10-171 Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Institutional Research Training Grants, which supported new or ongoing NIDCR supported T32 programs.
To help ensure that a diverse pool of highly trained scientists is available, the NIDCR plans to continue to use the T32 and the T90/R90 grant activities to fund its institutional research training and education programs. The goal is to provide supervised research training opportunities for individuals to help ensure that a diverse pool of highly trained scientists is dedicated to improving dental, oral, and craniofacial health. The awards issued under this program are comprehensive training grants to support both predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees and can include one or more the following training components:
- Predoctoral research training leading to both the DDS/DMD and PhD degrees in a formal combined research degree program, such as a Dentist Scientist Training Program (DSTP) (T32, T90)
- Predoctoral research training leading to a PhD or equivalent degree (T32, T90)
- Postdoctoral research training for dentists leading to a PhD or equivalent degree, or to a Masters in Clinical Research (T32, T90)
- Postdoctoral research training for dentists (with or without a PhD) and non-clinician PhDs (T32, T90)
- Postdoctoral research training or research training leading to a PhD for non-citizen dentists (R90)
Training activities may be in biomedical, behavioral, and clinical research and in any discipline relevant to the NIDCR Strategic Plan. Research training programs will incorporate didactic, research, and career development components to prepare individuals for careers that will have a significant impact on the health-related research needs of the Nation. In addition, the programs will align with the NIH Diversity in the Biomedical Research Workforce, the Biomedical Research Workforce, and the Physician Scientist Workforce initiatives.
The Institutional Training grant programs will be structured to launch individuals into research careers, providing initial support to develop individualized research projects and appropriate mentorship, with the continued expectation that the trainees will transition from the training grant to other types of research training support, such as School-based or University-based support, NIH support through individual fellowships (Fs ) or career development awards (Ks), or other organization/foundation funding.
Applications for support under these FOAs will be reviewed on the basis of the strengths of the research training and environment, the qualifications of the Training Program Director and Mentors, the training record of trainees, including research accomplishments, publications, subsequent fellowship or career development awards and subsequent positions that benefit the biomedical research enterprise.
NIDCR will continue to manage the cost of the programs. It is anticipated that the size of programs may vary and consideration will be given to the total numbers of trainees supported.
Current Portfolio Overview
The NIDCR currently funds 18 Institutional comprehensive research training grants that are actively appointing new trainees, including eight T32 and ten T90/R90 grants that were awarded in response to PAR 10-171 and PAR 10-170, respectively. NIDCR also co-funds institutional training grants that offer specialized research training in dental, oral and craniofacial scientific areas: a National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering T32 institutional training grant to support postdoctoral research training in organ design and engineering, and three National Library of Medicine T15 Institutional training grants to support predoctoral and postdoctoral research training in bioinformatics.
The NIDCR also provides research training and career development opportunities through individual F fellowships, K career development awards, and research supplements to promote diversity and re-entry in biomedical research.
Alignment with Institute Goals and Strategic Plan
This initiative is aligned with NIDCR Strategic Plan 2014-2019, Goal IV, Objective 1: Collaborate with academic institutions, especially schools of dentistry, to create research pathways for faculty and trainees; and Objective 3: Support research, training, and career development programs that value team science, transformative approaches, and diversity at all levels.
2006 Career Achievements of NRSA Postdoctoral Trainees and Fellows: 1975–2004
Office of Extramural Programs, Office of the Director, National Institutes of Health
2000 PAR-00-116 NIDCR National Research Service Award Institutional Research Training Grants
2005 PAR-05-101 Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Institutional Dental Research Training Program (Comprehensive T32)
2010 PAR-10-171 Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Institutional Training for a Dental and Craniofacial Research Workforce (T32) and PAR-10-170 Institutional Training for a Dental and Craniofacial Research Workforce (T90/R90)