The Training Page
FROM THE FELLOWS COMMITTEE
National Postdoctoral Association Helps Enrich Postdoc Training
As researchers, we have seen how scientific investigations have evolved from the simple to elaborate, advanced, multimethod studies that often rely on collaborations among scientists from different disciplines. As postdocs, we are hyperaware of the need for our training to keep pace with this ever-changing research world.
The NIH Fellows Committee (FelCom) has a long history of helping to identify ways of enriching the training experience at NIH. Not only does FelCom work closely with the Office of Intramural Training and Education to improve training, but it also has teamed up with the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA). NPA facilitates positive change for postdocs everywhere and in so doing advances the research enterprise in the United States.
Ten NIH representatives gathered with more than 380 others (including postdocs, faculty, administrators, and others) from across the country at NPA’s 14th Annual Meeting held in Grand Rapids, Michigan, this March. There they laid out strategies to expand career-development programs for postdocs and discussed the challenges and opportunities faced by postdoctoral scholars worldwide.
Attendees also discussed ways to enhance core competencies that are essential to a professional career, whether it’s in academia, industry, government, a nonprofit, or an entrepreneurial business: discipline-specific conceptual knowledge; research skill development; communication skills; professionalism; leadership and management skills; and responsible conduct of research. As part of the discussion, FelCom NPA liaison Didier Chalhoub (National Institute of Aging) presented a poster on the Fellows Award for Research Excellence (FARE), which recognizes the outstanding scientific research performed by NIH’s intramural postdoctoral fellows. “The fact that FARE is organized by the postdocs for the postdocs captivated the attention of many,” said Chalhoub. “Some even asked to use it as a model to organize a similar event at their universities.”
Given that there are 3,000 postdocs in NIH’s intramural program at any given time, FelCom can serve as an example to other postdoctoral communities for how to improve training experiences.
“The NPA presents great leadership opportunities for postdocs,” too, said Chalhoub. “Members can join committees and work on projects they are passionate about.” NPA’s five core committees are Advocacy, Outreach (to disseminate NPA activities and goals), Meetings, Resource Development, and POSTDOCket (NPA’s quarterly newsletter). In addition, “The fact that postdocs from all over the U.S. join this association makes the NPA a great networking platform,” said Chalhoub. And as every postdoc has been advised again and again: Network, network, network!
The NPA organizes the annual National Postdoc Appreciation Week every September as a way to recognize the significant contributions that postdoctoral scholars make to research and discovery. NIH campuses and institutions across the country and even around the world participate by holding special events. Stay tuned!
To learn more about FelCom, attend or call in to its meetings, which are held on the first Thursday of every month at 4:00 p.m. in Wilson Hall (Building 1). Find out how by subscribing to the Fellow-L LISTSERV (go to https://list.nih.gov and search the “Public Lists” for Fellow-L).
For more information, go to:
- FelCom website: https://www.training.nih.gov/felcom
- NPA website: http://www.nationalpostdoc.org
- OITE website: https://www.training.nih.gov
This page was last updated on Wednesday, April 13, 2022