“Show me a successful individual and I’ll show you someone who had real positive influences in his or her life. I don’t care what you do for a living—if you do it well, I’m sure there was someone cheering you on or showing the way. A mentor.”
Independent Investigator Incubator
The Independent Investigator Incubator (I³) program is a unique, interdisciplinary mentorship program that provides 1:1 mentoring for early career research faculty during the crucial early years of their careers at the school. The I³ program helps scientists generate cutting-edge research by enhancing their career development, assisting them in securing extramural research funding, and helping them to translate and disseminate their research findings.
The program includes many experienced senior faculty members who have successful track records in securing extramural grant funding and who are passionate about mentoring. The mentors (pictured below) are committed to taking a long-term interest in the successful careers of those they agree to mentor.
2021 Senior Faculty Mentors
Through strong mentorship relationships, the I³ program will help to enhance skills that are not solely unique to a specific scientific discipline, such as navigating faculty life, grant writing, and research project management.
National Institute of Health Mentoring
National Institutes of Health (NIH) has developed many programs to support the career development of researchers at all levels. Over federal fiscal years 2016-2020 (FFY16-FFY20), 60 researchers at Indiana University School of Medicine received an NIH K award focused on early career development (See pie chart below).
The following is a summary and link to these widely used career development grants:
K01: Mentored Research Scientist Career Development Award: Supports postdoctoral or early career research scientists committed to research, in need of both advanced research training and additional experience.
K08: Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Development Award: Provides the opportunity for promising clinician scientists with demonstrated aptitude to develop into independent investigators, or for faculty members to pursue research, and aid in filling the academic faculty gap in health profession's institutions.
K12: Clinical Scientist Institutional Career Development Program Award: Provides support for newly trained clinicians appointed by an institution for development of independent research skills and experience in a fundamental science within the framework of an interdisciplinary research and development program.
K23: Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award: Provides support for the career development of clinically trained professionals who have made a commitment to patient-oriented research, and who have the potential to develop into productive, clinical investigators.
K99/R00: Pathway to Independence Award: Supports both an initial mentored research experience (K99) followed by independent research (R00) for highly qualified, postdoctoral researchers, to secure an independent research position. Award recipients are expected to compete successfully for independent R01 support during the R00 phase.
Departmental Mentoring Committees
Most departments within IU School of Medicine, utilize mentoring committees for junior researchers to help them navigate the early phase of their faculty career. Mentoring is shown to influence career success, satisfaction, and productivity. It can mean the difference between success and failure for early career faculty, who are searching for guidance, a sense of belonging and confidence in their academic journey.
Mentoring does not end after these programs. IU School of Medicine is working to do more for mid-career investigators. Watch this newsletter for more information in the coming months.
Tatiana Foroud, PhD
Executive Associate Dean for Research Affairs,
Indiana University School of Medicine
Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs for Clinical Research, IU Health