The call to modernize graduate education

In a Nov. 30, Feedback Loop Blog post, National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) leadership detailed the need to modernize how graduate students in biomedical research are educated and trained. Drs. Shiva Singh, Alison Gammie, and Director Dr. Jon Lorsch announced efforts NIGMS is undertaking to catalyze an education system that has remained virtually unchanged in 30 years, even as science has evolved at an unprecedented rate.

The authors make the case that the growth of interdisciplinary research, Big Data, and diverse careers in research and related sectors necessitate an overhaul of graduate student education. In addition, growing problems related to reproducibility and scientific rigor must be addressed at the earliest stages of an investigator’s training. NIGMS and other NIH institutes and centers are developing and incorporating training modules that address these problems in the research endeavor, including blinding, selection of exclusion criteria, and awareness of bias. NIGMS also recently issued administrative supplements to some of their T32 predoctoral training grants to enable the development of new curricular components that address the full spectrum of skills students need to develop to become outstanding scientists.

These activities are only part of a larger effort to promote a complete revitalization and reworking of the biomedical research graduate education system and NIGMS would like to hear from the community about potential challenges, opportunities, and strategies to help inform this effort. Leave your comments and learn more about the specific issues NIGMS aims to address here.