MANTP offers a number of unique professional development activities accessible specifically to current and former MANTP trainees. These are described below. UW Madison also provides extensive assistance via its “DiscoverPD” website, the Office of Postdoctoral Studies website, the National Research Mentoring Network which has its mentor training core housed at UW-Madison, and several teaching development portfolios including the inter-institutional “Center for Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning” and the DELTA program in Research, Teaching and Learning.
MANTP Mock Study Sections
Each trainee is required to write a fellowship to a nationally competitive program. In most cases this is an NIH F30 or F31 for predoctoral trainees or an NIH F32 for postdoctoral trainees. Trainees are required to complete and submit a fellowship within 6 to 9 months for postdoctoral trainees or 12 months for predoctoral trainees. Trainees must submit their draft proposal for review by a mock-study section of other MANTP trainees 2 to 4 weeks before the agency (i.e. NIH) deadline. Director Eisenstein assigns other trainees to be primary, secondary and tertiary reviewers who are required to write up a review using the NIH review format for these fellowships. At the mock study section the reviewers present and constructively critique the proposal. Faculty trainers from the MANTP Professional Development subcommittee, who are experienced as fellowship reviewers, also participate as does the MANTP Executive Committee. Director Eisenstein maintains a library of sample fellowships for trainees to use as a rough guide for their own proposals.
MANTP Individual Development Plan (IDP)
The IDP provides a process for assessment of your current abilities in research career-related activities, a description and evaluation of your career objectives and finally the development by you of a detailed timeline of professional development activities that will allow you to be in a competitive position to achieve your career goal. Importantly, the IDP is a communication tool that is designed to enhance the relationship between you, the trainee, and your faculty advisor and other mentors. The IDP is written by the trainee with input from the faculty mentor and focuses on identification of short-term and long-term goals and mechanisms to achieve these goals. These goals are intended to cover all major aspects of career development, not just enhancing your abilities as a researcher. A central intent of the IDP is to enable MANTP trainees to become more proactive with regard to their own career development.
MANTP trainees are required to complete an IDP within 60 days of joining the program. They are encouraged, but not required, to discuss their IDP with their mentor and MANTP Director Eisenstein.
MANTP Chalk Talk Criteria
All MANTP trainees are required to present an annual research update to the MANTP Executive Committee. This can be a PowerPoint presentation or a Chalk Talk. Trainees must present a chalk talk at least once during their training. The chalk talk format is meant to provide training in, and evaluation of, an oral presentation that focuses on the broad scientific significance, likely the impact on their field and health relevance of their work as would be evaluated in an NIH or other scientific review group (study section).
Address the following:
- Explain the gap in knowledge your work addresses and its public health significance. This should include an explanation the importance of the problem or critical barrier to progress in the field that the proposed project addresses. This should include how the proposed work is new and unique.
- Explain how the proposed project will improve scientific knowledge, technical capability, and/or clinical practice in one or more broad fields.
- Describe how the concepts that drive your field will be changed if the proposed aims are achieved (In addition to concepts you can, if you want to, address the methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative interventions that drive your field will be changed if your work succeeds)
- How it meets the NIH mission to improve health through science, by leading to cures, treatments, or preventions for human disease.
MANTP Annual Progress Report
The information provided here is focused on funding opportunities for career stages before one obtains an independent faculty or other research-oriented position. A typical career path for individuals interested in a research career in metabolism or other areas of biological sciences typically involves starting in research as an undergraduate and continuing an active research effort through postdoctoral training. Obtaining fellowships or other research funding when an undergraduate or graduate student helps focus one’s research efforts and enhances career competitiveness. Demonstrating the ability to obtain postdoctoral and so-called transition to independence funding is essential to be actively considered for most faculty positions and enhances competitiveness for jobs in industry and other venues. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has the most comprehensive approach for research funding from the undergraduate to the transition to independence stage and provides a good overview of types of funding to consider at different career stages (https://researchtraining.nih.gov/). The National Science Foundation provides mechanisms for funding from the undergraduate through postdoctoral and the USDA provides predoctoral and postdoctoral funding mechanisms. A number of national research societies and private foundations and other organizations provide a more limited repertoire of funding opportunities. UW-Madison also has several funding options for undergraduates. The information that follows highlights many, but not all, funding opportunities for students, postdoctoral scientists and those individuals interested in transition to independence funding. Because writing well is essential to being competitive for research funding information is provided on related professional development opportunities.
Funding for Unique Professional Development Activities
Current MANTP trainees may apply for partial or possibly full support (up to $2500) for activities that enhance their professional and career development. These funds, raised from UW-Madison campus sources, are not for attending a scientific meeting. They can be used for: i) attending a course such as those put on by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories, Jackson Laboratories or various NIH-linked activities such as those provided by some NIH-funded research centers; ii) travel to a collaborators laboratory to learn new techniques, for example. Other activities may also be eligible. Contact Rick Eisenstein, MANTP Director for details and inquiries.