I recently attended an information session for UC Davis’s FUTURE program. You can find much of the information about this program (and apply for the certificate track) at the website.
The information session was led by Dr. Jen Greenier and Stacy Hayashi. They opened with an explanation for why the FUTURE program was started. In 2012, the NIH Workforce Initiative reported that graduate and post-doctoral training programs need to train scientists in the biomedical and life sciences fields for a wide range of career options, rather than exclusively for academic settings. Additionally, they said that such training should not increase the length of time of training. This report led to the BEST initiative. UC Davis is one of only seventeen institutions to receive a BEST award, a grant that the institution uses to broaden training for graduate students and post docs. At UC Davis, this grant led to the FUTURE program.
The tracks of the FUTURE program are described thoroughly at the website, so I will keep the descriptions brief. There are two tracks, the certificate track, and the self-directed track. For the certificate track (which requires an application), students complete nine professional development workshops, covering topics such as individual development plans, interviews, and resume building. These workshops are expected to occur on Tuesday mornings between January 12 and March 8 (though I don’t think that is set in stone yet). Following this process, trainees will meet with a career advisor regularly to discuss their goals, primarily relating to securing a full or part-time internship in an area of interest. Internships can be on or off campus, full or part-time, and can occur up to 6 months following a student’s graduation (or the end of a post-doc’s appointment).
The self-directed track provides similar opportunities, but on a sign-up basis.
Additionally, trainees are able to apply for a career exploration fund. This fund could be used to attend a workshop or bring in a guest speaker.
One thing I found exciting about the program, is the results and recommendations will be reported to the NIH at the end of the five-year grant. So in addition to individual career development, trainees will be contributing the NIH initiative to broaden training.