PI: MELISSA DEROSIER, DAVID KUPFER
TERM: 08/14 – 07/16
As emphasized by the NIH Roadmap and NCATS’s Strategic Priorities, NIH’s broad mission to improve health outcomes for all persons depends on the ability to train and retain future generations of clinical scientists who can quickly and effectively translate research findings into clinical practice. However, the past two decades have witnessed a significant decline in the clinical scientist workforce, which threatens our nation’s ability to leverage advances in basic biomedical and behavioral sciences into improvements in public health. The transition from postdoctoral student to independent researcher is a particularly high-risk period for attrition from the research career path. Early career researchers face a variety of challenges when beginning their career and many of the skills needed to successfully establish and maintain a research career are often not addressed during formal training experiences. The need for and value of building career navigation skills, such as planning, negotiation, and management, has been increasingly recognized. However, current attempts to fill this educational gap tend to be either generic, static written materials that are limited in their utility for a given researcher or in-person workshops that are available to only a limited number of select trainees. The primary goal of this SBIR Phase II project was to fully develop and pilot test a dynamic, interactive e-training software product (Strategy Shaper) that provides individualized training and practice in research career navigation skills. This Phase II proposal expanded on the promising feasibility test results of the Strategy Shaper prototype in Phase I. The proposed project accomplished three specific aims: (1) fully developed Strategy Shaper software and responsive website with iterative usability testing with stakeholders; (2) conducted a 6-month pilot study of the product to assess its impact on researchers’ career navigation skills, perceived confidence, research career motivation, and career activities; and (3) finalized Strategy Shaper for commercialization based on findings and evaluations from the pilot study. Phase II research demonstrated strong support for the promise of this interactive e-training software product for supporting the career development of clinical researchers.