Leading Emerging and Diverse Scientists to Success (LEADS)

Online Training

The online training component of LEADS comprises a series of online training modules around an area of professional competency essential for success in a scientific research career. Scholars will view videos, read articles, engage with their colleagues and instructor in asynchronous discussions, and meet weekly via web-conferencing. The weekly web conference will be on Mondays, 3-4:30 PM Eastern Time. They will also complete challenge assignments that help them advance their career goals.

Module Topic
Module Dates
Corresponding Competency
9/3/2019 - 10/1/2019
10/1/2019 - 10/25/2019
Problem formation
11/4/2019 - 12/17/2019
1/7/2020 - 3/2/2020
Written communication
3/3/2020 - 3/30/2020
4/1/2020 - 4/28/2020
Written and oral communication
5/4/2020 - 5/26/2020
Ethics and professional norms
6/2/2020 - 6/29/2020

Introduction to Team Science

Innovative and significant scientific advances often come from teams rather than individual scientists. But what makes a good team? And are there ways to make a good team great? In this module, we will cover the basics of team science so that you can answer these questions. Assembling the right team and reaping the full benefits of working with a team requires active planning and mindful management. We will discuss how to bring together the right mix of collaborators to enhance the success and impact of your research. We will also review best practices for building and maintaining positive and productive working relationships with diverse collaborators from different disciplines, professions, and social backgrounds.

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Critical and Creative Thinking

Thinking is a purposeful, organized, cognitive process that we use to understand the world and make informed decisions. Thinking is part of our human nature. When we think, we can process information and convert it to something value for us. Everyone thinks; it is our nature to do so. But much of our thinking, left to itself, could generate bias, distortions, be incomplete in meaning, and partial, uninformed or downright prejudiced. The quality of our life depends precisely on the quality of our thought and this quality depends of our experience, educational background, cultural sensitivity and the capacity to go over disparities and inequities. Successful thinking enables us to solve problems, make intelligent decisions, and achieve the goals that give our lives purpose and fulfillment.

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Defining Your Research Question

Developing the right research question(s) requires as much skill as finding the right answer and yet is often neglected in academic research training. Albert Einstein once said: "If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes." In this module, you will learn how to define a significant research problem, articulate important, researchable questions, and use a conceptual framework to develop testable hypotheses based on your questions. We will discuss criteria to evaluate the significance of a problem and prioritize questions. By the end of this module you will be able to develop questions to guide investigation of an impactful problem.

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Grant Writing

You have worked hard with your mentor(s) and colleagues to identify an important gap in scientific knowledge and to develop a study question to address that gap. Now you must find a way to support the work needed to answer the question. It is time to write and submit a grant application to a funding agency! The pursuit and securing of research funding is one of the most crucial elements of a successful and rewarding scientific career. Unfortunately, many early career researchers do not develop the skills necessary to develop and write a competitive grant application. Without such skills, your outstanding research question may languish in the unfunded wilderness or be answered by someone else. In the Grant Writing I and II modules, you will learn critical elements of the grant preparation and writing process, develop a Specific Aims page and extended Research Strategy outline, and provide constructive feedback to other participants in the modules.

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Starting Your Research

The good news is that you have a great research question and research plan and your grant is funded. But now you need to do the work. How do you go about getting your research project off the ground? What are the first steps needed to make sure it is off to a solid start? What do you need to do along the way to make sure you finish on time and complete what you said you would do? The answers to these questions are not taught in a typical statistics or research methodology course. In this module you will learn how research projects are managed so that you can run your own projects successfully from start to finish.

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Medical Writing and Communication

Biomedical scientists must be able to present their work clearly and effectively in many written forms to successfully advance their careers. Yet important aspects of their scientific work are often poorly communicated or even obscured by ineffectively composed abstracts and peer-reviewed manuscripts. Don’t let poor writing skills or an uninformed approach to writing impede your professional development and academic promotion!

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Effective Peer Reviewing

Scientific peer review is the evaluation of scholarly work by experts in the same field to enhance the quality of scholarship. Although the peer review process and its relationship to professional success are critically important for all individuals pursuing biomedical careers at academic institutions, most post-doctoral fellows and junior faculty typically gain knowledge on these crucially important subjects on “the fly” and not through curricula designed to de-mystify many key aspects of peer review.

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Launching Your Research Career

As you embark on your research careers, it is helpful to know what works and doesn’t work for you to facilitate your productivity. How are you doing with regards to work-life balance or is it really work-life integration? How do you avoid burnout? What kinds of obstacles might you encounter in pursuing your goals, and what strategies can you use to overcome them? This module focuses on self-discovery. Several experiential exercises will help you develop strategies for a successful research career.

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