The vast majority of people holding biomedical PhDs find work, but the number of PhDs who obtain tenure-track faculty positions now represents a shrinking minority. The MIND program is an experiment in career development and exploration, funded by an NIH Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training (BEST) award. We hope to provide better resources for students and postdocs who wish to explore the wide range of possible career outcomes that are available to biomedical trainees, and better support for the faculty who mentor them.
The most immediate goal of the MIND program is to create, deliver, and test the effectiveness of a comprehensive career development intervention for early-stage PhD students and postdocs and their mentors, in order to address some of the specific knowledge gaps and mismatched motives that can derail the career decision-making process.
The long-term goal is to change the culture at UCSF in a fundamental way, cultivating a community in which students and postdocs feel supported in their exploration of the broad range of career options in the biomedical workforce.
The MIND project is organized around three initiatives. First, students and postdocs will engage in coursework to develop the skills and tools they need to explore a variety of career paths. Second, students and postdocs will connect with MIND program partners to take a close look at different career environments. MIND partners are biomedical PhDs in careers outside academic research. Together, partners and trainees will populate MINDbank, a resource for career exploration that will be publicly available for trainees nationwide. Third, the MIND team will assess the types of support and information faculty need to mentor trainees whose career interests diverge from the academic path.