The Burroughs Wellcome Fund's Career Guidance for Trainees (CGT) program has awarded funding for two pilot projects at UC San Francisco (UCSF). Dr. Thi Nguyen, PhD, program director of career development, and Dr. Laurence Clement, PhD, program director of academic career development, who are both on the staff of UCSF's Office of Career and Professional Development (OCPD), created and submitted the winning proposals.
Under Nguyen's direction, OCPD will create a novel course model for teaching graduate students and postdoctoral scholars about basic business concepts. The aim is to better prepare scientists who are planning to start their own academic labs, as well as to give an edge to scientists pursuing careers in industry, where an understanding of business is essential even for those doing bench research.
Clement will be leading the second project, to develop a tool that will assess career-readiness for PhD scientists who are on the academic career track, in an era when competition for faculty positions is at an all-time high.
The award of the two Burroughs Wellcome grants to UCSF speaks clearly to the resourcefulness and ingenuity emanating from the OCPD group. "Getting just one of these competitive awards would have been impressive. But the news that two of these competitive awards were given to the same institution is really remarkable," said Bill Lindstaedt, executive director of an umbrella unit at UCSF that represents a collaboration involving OCPD, the Office for Postdoctoral Scholars, and the International Students and Scholars Office.
"It's thanks in no small part to the efforts of OCPD that our students and postdocs are so successful as alumni. With the guidance of innovative leaders like Thi and Laurence to light the way, young researchers coming out of UCSF will be well prepared for whatever career path they chose," said Dean of the Graduate Division and VC of Student Academic Affairs Elizabeth Watkins.
This year, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund's CGT program provided seven grants of $30,000 to $50,000 to support demonstration projects that model affordable approaches to improving life sciences trainees' readiness for stable, fulfilling careers. UCSF was the only institution to receive two awards from the program.
(In the photo from left to right — Laurence Clement, Bill Lindstaedt, and Thi Nguyen. Photo by Courtney Anderson.)