Recommendation 3

Scientific education at early career stages should be sufficiently broad to produce graduates who can understand essential components of other disciplines while receiving a solid grounding in one or more fields. Criteria for NIH-supported research training should include both breadth and depth of education.

  • Through the NIH Medical Scientist Training Program, encourage participating universities to support MD/PhD programs in the social and behavioral, as well as biomedical, sciences.

  • Promote translational research, an important aspect of interdisciplinary training by (1) Providing clinical experience in PhD programs; (2) Supporting PhD programs and postdoctoral mentored career development awards for physicians, nurses, dentists, social workers, and other clinicians.

  • Create partnerships with the private sector to develop and support interdisciplinary training.

  • Expand the T32 training grant awards to cover the full direct costs of implementation.

Recommendation 4

Funding agencies should establish a grant supplement program to foster interdisciplinary training and research.

Recommendation 5

Funding opportunities for interdisciplinary training should be provided for scientists at all stages of their careers.

  • Implement career development programs that encourage junior faculty to engage in interdisciplinary research.

  • Support midcareer investigators in developing expertise needed for interdisciplinary research.

  • Continue funding for workshops, symposia, and meetings to bring together diverse fields to focus on a particular scientific question.

  • Support consortia and multi-institutional programs that provide integration of research efforts in multiple disciplines.

Recommendation 6

NIH should develop and implement mechanisms to evaluate the outcomes of interdisciplinary training and research programs.

  • Identify interdisciplinary research and training as such in all federal grants to facilitate future analyses.

  • Establish a task force to develop a plan to track outcomes of interdisciplinary training and research programs.

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