3-C ISD issues detailed reports about our technological innovations. Topics include online training and leadership development for social and behavioral researchers.
Until 2005, there was no single website available where researchers could go to get advice and information from leading scientists on conducting research out in the real world. Graduate school may provide students with the knowledge they need to generate hypotheses, design studies, and analyze data, but graduates often leave school with very little understanding of how to obtain funding, recruit and retain participants, develop and adhere to timelines, hire and manage staff, or collaborate with other researchers. This lack of operational, how-to knowledge can easily derail a researcher from a promising career. In 2003, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) issued a request for proposals to create a web-based archive of operational information for mental health researchers. When 3-C ISD was awarded this contract, we began what would be a four-year research project culminating in the development of www.4Researchers.org. This content-rich website now features more than 900 articles from over 200 scientists sharing tips and advice on funding, research design, participant recruitment, study management, collaboration, dissemination, and career advancement. This paper will describe the 4Researchers website as it is today, then briefly discuss the research behind its four-year development.
McMillen, J., Davis, N., DeRosier, M., Greenblatt, A., & Huffman, K. (2010). Leadership Training Institute: Career advancement for diverse researchers. Cary, NC: 3-C Institute for Social Development.
Over the past decade, there has been a significant increase in the number of women and persons of color entering research careers related to mental health intervention and services. However, when the long-term career trajectories of these groups are examined, notable disparities in career success are evident. Barriers to career advancement (e.g., obtaining funding, departmental politics, stress of promotion) serve to reduce retention of mental health researchers who are women or persons of color. This paper describes a unique and compelling project to provide specialized training, mentoring and networking opportunities to help diverse researchers address these challenges and achieve a successful, long-term career in mental health research. Through funding from the National Institute of Mental Health2, this project generated a unique four-day training workshop, the Leadership Training Institute (LTI), and culminated in an innovative suite of online resources specifically designed for diverse researchers. This paper outlines the development of the LTI and presents findings from a longitudinal research evaluation comparing career-related outcomes for trainees who participated in the live, in-person LTI and used the online LTI resources versus trainees who only attended the live event and trainees who only had access to the online suite of tools and resources. Implications for continued training and career support of diverse researchers are discussed.
Over the past several decades, research in the behavioral sciences has blossomed, bringing significant advances in public health issues such as depression, bipolar disorder, drug abuse, and access to health services. Recently, however, there has been a decline in the research scientist workforce, with a number of researchers leaving the field early in their careers, before they make the transition to independent scientist. In response to this decline, the National Institute of Mental Health has made it a priority to strengthen behavioral science research through advanced training and career development. Through funding by NIMH, this project involved developing and testing a collection of innovative web-based services designed to support advanced academic training, career advancement, and collaboration. We present results from this longitudinal study comparing knowledge acquisition and retention, career progress, and website use for two trainee groups – those who attended live training workshops and had access to the training website, and those who only had access to the training website. We then briefly discuss the launching and commercialization of the culmination of this project, Interlink Training and Dissemination Services.
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