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Participant perspectives on a seminar-based research career development program and its role in career independence
  1. Nicole M Llewellyn1,
  2. Jamie J Adachi1,2,
  3. Eric J Nehl1,3,
  4. Stacy S Heilman4
  1. 1 Georgia Clinical and Translational Science Alliance, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
  2. 2 Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
  3. 3 Department of Behavioral, Social, and Health Education Sciences, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
  4. 4 Department of Pediatrics, Emory University and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Stacy S Heilman, Pediatrics, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322-1007, USA; stacy.heilman{at}


Health science researchers need training and support to effectively pursue independence in their research careers. Little data exist regarding the specific resources that faculty researchers have found or would find useful. In this study, we aimed to better understand the needs of health science researchers to develop recommendations for effective career development programming. The authors conducted a multi-method evaluation of early-career researcher faculty needs beginning by using post-session satisfaction surveys to assess the value of a long-standing “K-Club” seminar, which educates and supports those pursuing NIH Career Development (K) awards or similar. The authors then collected in-depth views on career development needs through a series of focus groups conducted with health science researchers at three career stages: early career, award-seeking junior faculty; mid-career faculty who have obtained some extramural funding; senior faculty who serve as mentors for early/mid-career faculty. Participants who attended the existing K-Club strongly endorse the program in supporting their career goals. Focus group participants described specific areas for program expansion that would add value across career stages: more flexible training options, conducted in smaller group settings with immediate feedback provided; more formalized training and resources for senior research mentors; in-depth guidance on individualized grantsmanship. The authors propose program development guidelines for helping researchers achieve research independence and success. Findings indicate that a broad-reaching K-Club style educational seminar can serve as a valuable foundation supporting professional development. The addition of tailored programs delivered across diverse platforms are predicted to heighten career development success.

  • academic medical centers
  • biomedical research
  • research
  • surveys and questionnaires

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  • Collaborators Barbara Kilbourne, Andrea L Shane, Hannah D Eisen, Dawn Comeau.

  • Contributors All four authors worked together collaboratively on this manuscript and meet all four authorship criteria as described below. 1. NML and SSH initially conceived of the project and sought meaningful input from EJN and JJA to refine the goals and the resulting study design. NML and JJA led the interviews, data acquisition, and analysis process. NML, EJN, SSH, and JJA worked collaboratively to interpret the data for the discussion and conclusions sections. This data interpretation occurred over multiple emails, phone calls, and two in-person meetings that included all four coauthors. 2. NML used input and feedback from the group conversations that occurred via email, phone, and in-person meetings to draft the initial manuscript. EJN, SSH, and JJA reviewed the initial draft and several other drafts thereafter offering critical feedback. During this iterative process, the four authors communicated primarily via email but also met two additional times to discuss final revisions to ensure the final draft included the entire group’s collective intellectual contributions. 3. NML shared the final manuscript draft that had incorporated the feedback and revisions from the other three coauthors with the entire group, and EJN, SSH, and JJA all approved the final version that was submitted and published. 4. NML, EJN, SSH, and JJA were all integrally involved in this work from inception to submission and agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work. All four coauthors agree that we will be accountable for any questions raised to the accuracy or integrity of the work and will work to appropriately investigate and resolve any questions raised.

  • Funding This research was supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under Award Numbers UL1 TR002378 and KL2 TR002381, and the NIAID-sponsored Center for AIDS Research at Emory University under Award Number P30AI050409.

  • Disclaimer The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data are available upon reasonable request.