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
- surveys and questionnaires
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