PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — With renewed federal funding, Brown University faculty will extend two initiatives built to encourage the success of students historically underrepresented in STEM graduate programs and prepare them for careers in the sciences: the Initiative to Maximize Student Development and the Post-baccalaureate Research Education Program.
The National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health has awarded both programs renewed funding for the next five years: the grants for IMSD and PREP are $3.3 million and $1.6 million, respectively.
The two separate programs share similar goals, said Andrew Campbell, who co-leads both IMSD and PREP at Brown: increasing diversity among scientists earning Ph.D. degrees and giving them the tools to succeed in biomedical and behavioral sciences.
"A wide diversity of experiences and perspectives among scientists is essential for problem-solving, for moving science forward, and for creating opportunities for the kinds of breakthroughs that make a difference in people's lives," said Campbell, who served for six years as dean of Brown’s Graduate School before returning to research and teaching as a professor of medical science. “Although IMSD is an established program now in its second decade and PREP is just entering its second five-year cycle, the renewals by NIH signal great confidence in the work we are doing here at Brown to expand diversity among the sciences.”
Campbell said the success of the programs in building and supporting a more diverse community of scientific scholars is illustrative of the University’s broader commitment through its campus-wide Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan and diversity and inclusion initiatives at the Graduate School.
“With IMSD and PREP, we’re establishing a suite of pathway programs at Brown that are achieving our shared vision for diversity, academic excellence and ultimately workforce change,” Campbell said.
Campbell has co-directed the Initiative to Maximize Student Development at Brown since its inception in 2008; since 2012, the co-director of IMSD has been Elizabeth Harrington, associate dean for graduate and postdoctoral studies in the Division of Biology and Medicine. The IMSD research training program provides students in underrepresented groups with professional development opportunities, academic support and a community that enhances success in their Ph.D. programs and positions them as highly competitive for postdoctoral positions and scientific careers of their choice. IMSD at Brown partners with 24 graduate programs in STEM fields.
IMSD at Brown supports 12 Ph.D. students a year with an advising plan and support structure, as well as skill-based training modules that focus on areas that may not have been fully developed by appointed student trainees at their undergraduate institutions, such as scientific writing and statistical analysis of data. While required for IMSD trainees, the modules are open to other Brown graduate students, as well.