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Initiative for Maximizing Student Development

The Initiative for Maximizing Student Development is a $1.25 million grant funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The goal of the Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) research training program is to develop a diverse pool of scientists earning a PhD who have the skills to successfully transition into careers in the biomedical research workforce.

ISMD at IU School of Medicine is a two-year program with three training elements: integrative mentoring, writing for success, and bioinformatics for modern biologists. This program will fund selected students for two years (NRSA stipend and tuition support). Scholars appointed to the ISMD program will also be eligible for travel funds and financial support for childcare. Primary mentors must be approved to be part of the IMSD program and complete or enroll in a mentoring workshop as a condition for appointing a student to the training program.

Integrative Mentoring

  • Mentoring committee works parallel to the student’s research committee
  • Peer-to-peer mentors meet regularly with trainees
  • Research mentor completes mentor training

Writing for Success

  • F830: Experimental Design & Grant Writing Course
  • Grant writing boot camp
  • Writing accountability group


  • Six week series featuring dialogical lectures, recorded modules, and hands-on demos
  • Topics: next-generation sequencing, RNA-seq, visualization of data sets, and single-cell analysis among others
  • Optional course to expand skillset

Professional Development

  • Workshop on establishing your ideal thesis committee
  • Individualized development plan
  • Preparation for qualifying exams

This grant provided by the NIH is for five years and can be renewed for an extension of another five years. Applications have closed for the 2023-24 cycle and will be reopened in 2024.