Pursuing a career path in research can be frustrating without a proper and informed guidance and choice as per how to start and go about the whole process of it. You may feel shy at times to ask a senior colleague or friend, or you may not even have anyone to ask, but do not worry, as this little piece might be a helpful companion to you. This article is geared towards helping you to understand some of the important things that you need to know in order to make informed decision as to how best to choose and pursue a career in research. The tips in this section are an excerpt from the NIH (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases) guideline on strategies to pursue a career in research.
The guidelines here are from the NIH
CHOOSE A RESEARCH AREA
- Find a niche to distinguish your research (gaps in established fields; new fields; new technologies and approaches).
- Talk to the program officers in several NIH institutes to your research interest.
FIND ORGANIZATIONS THAT SUPPORT RESEARCH IN YOUR FIELD
- Multiple NIH institutes
- Other federal agencies – NSF, DoD
- Local agencies
- Philanthropic and disease foundations
- Align proposed research with scientific mission of funding agency.
- Know policies and administrative requirements of funding agency.
- R01, R21, R03 most common types of NIH research grants.
- All applications must be submitted in response to an open funding opportunity announcement (FOA).
- Investigator-initiated research: “Parent” Program Announcement FOAs – 3 receipt dates/year.
PROGRAM ANNOUNCEMENTS (PA)
- Broad research areas
- No set aside funds
REQUESTS FOR APPLICATIONS (RFA)
- Specific scientific topics with set aside funds
- Special receipt date, usually one-time call
- May have special eligibility or format requirements
- Administrative support is important for research success. It should include:
- Identification of relevant funding opportunities.
- Facilitation of application process.
- Compliance with funding agency policy.
- Sound financial management systems for managing grant funds.
- Mentors for investigators at all career stages.
- Administrators can use resources like NCURA.
- Work with experts in different disciplines to study problems.
- Obtain new ideas, perspectives and methods.
- Increase potential for innovation, funding.
- Find funded collaborators: NIH Research Portfolio online Reporting Tools for public use (RePORT) Report.nih.gov
- Develop Strong Science Teams: NIH Book “Collaboration and team Science: A Field Guide” http://www.cancer.gov/about-nci/organization/crs/research-initiatives/team-science-field-guide/collaboration-team-science-guide.pdf
- Use Team Science Toolkit ideas to develop teams. http://www.teamsciencetoolkit.cancer.gov/Public/Home.aspx
- Subscribe to Team Science List Serve. http://www. teamsciencetoolkit.cancer.gov/Public/ToolkitTeam.aspx
- Use On-line tool for Team-Based Biomedical http://www.teamscience.net/
- Training in the NIH Intramural Research Program (on the NIH campus) http://www.training.nih.gov
- Training for scientists not on the NIH campus http://www.training.nih.gov/for_trainees_outside_the_nih
- Extramural training mechanisms http:///www.grants.nih.gov/training/outcomes.htm
- NIAID advice on research training and career development awards http://www.naiad.nih.gov/researchfunding/trainingcareer/pages/advice.aspx
- Howard Hughes Medical Institute Training Programs http://.www.hhmi.org/programs/science-education-research-training
OTHER OPPORTUNITIES FROM NIH
- For Students
- For Recent Graduates
- For Residents/Fellows
- Other Training Opportunities
NIH Clinical Center Department Fellowships and Opportunities
- Bioethics Fellowship Opportunities
- Critical Care Medicine – Fellowship Opportunities for Physicians
- Critical Care Medicine – Other Professional Opportunities
- Imaging Sciences Training Program
- Laboratory Medicine – Fellowship Programs
- Nursing – Professional Opportunities
- Nutrition – Dietetic Internship Program
- Pharmacy – Training Programs
- Social Work – Education and Training
- Transfusion Medicine – Education and Training