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National Institutes of Health (NIH) programs help prepare the skilled and diverse biomedical research workforce of tomorrow

The Bridges to the Doctorate Program at the National Institute of General Medical Sciences promotes partnerships between institutions granting a master’s degree and institutions that grant Ph.D. degrees in the biomedical sciences.

“To increase the diversity of the scientific workforce, the NIH requires applicants for predoctoral and postdoctoral institutional research training grants to submit a plan to recruit and retain individuals from underrepresented groups,” writes Shawn Drew in Championing an Inclusive Scientific Work Force.

“At the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, we take a serious look at these plans and their outcomes.”

Recently North Carolina A&T  State University, a Bridges to the Doctorate Program Participating Institution, and its partner in the program, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, were selected for a new research training award.

The aim of the $1.3 Million award is to expand the pool of underrepresented students in the bioinformatics and biomedical sciences and increase the number of students who go into research careers, said Patrick Martin, assistant dean at North Carolina A&T’s College of Science and Technology and principal investigator for the NIH proposal.

“Jobs in these fields are in high demand (at) Google, IBM, and health and insurance providers,” Martin said.

Each year, three students will be selected for the Bridges to the Doctorate program, and students will be paired with mentors at both North Carolina A&T and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC).

A special curriculum will be designed for students with cross-training in biomedical and computational sciences and engineering, and professional development courses at UNC during their master’s program.

The award will help students in computational biology, computational science and engineering master’s programs at North Carolina A&T to transition to doctorate programs in the same fields at the UNC.

Other participating institutions in the same program include the University of California-Los Angeles, University of Kentucky, the University of Illinois at Chicago and Vanderbilt University Medical Center.


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