In response to the Biomedical Workforce Report, released in 2012, the NIH created a unique funding opportunity: the Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training (BEST) award. UCSF was one of only 17 recipients across the country, and with this award we created the MIND program.
In 2012, the NIH Biomedical Workforce Working Group issued their official report of the analysis of career outcomes for biomedical PhDs. The data they presented reflected what many already knew: that there are more PhDs for fewer academic research positions, and that students in the biomedical sciences are finding careers in a variety of fields. It was the recommendation of the working group that biomedical research training should prepare trainees for the range of careers that are available to them. One of the initiatives they announced was the Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training (BEST) award: a $1.7m grant supported by the Common Fund, awarded to institutions that proposed a program that would provide bold and innovative approaches designed to broaden graduate and postdoctoral training.
The MIND program
MIND is an experimental career exploration program that will provide training and resources to UCSF students and postdocs, as well as a resource for career exploration that can be utilized by trainees nationwide (MINDbank), and will challenge the current perceptions of PhD training. The program will bring together UCSF students and postdocs, UCSF faculty, and professional partners who are applying their PhD in diverse fields outside tenure-track research, so that UCSF can meet the growing need to place exceptional trainees into positions that will allow them to make the exceptional differences in society, both within and outside basic research.