At the July meeting of the Board of Directors, we reviewed participant and faculty feedback from the AASM’s sixth Young Investigator Research Forum, which was chaired by Sanjay Patel, MD, and held this past April in Bethesda, Maryland. I am pleased to report that the forum was a resounding success.
Throughout the field of sleep and circadian science there is common consensus that we currently have a strategic window of opportunity to make great strides in sleep research. Technological innovations, novel tools and new data sources are energizing the scientific community.
It is critical that we seize this opportunity by equipping junior faculty and fellows for the successful pursuit of a career in sleep and circadian research. Therefore, each year the AASM gathers a small group of promising young investigators from across the country for a multi-day series of workshops, lectures and discussions with established senior investigators and program officers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The recent forum was marked by informative lectures and lively Q&A sessions. Participants made data blitz presentations, receiving critical and intensive feedback from faculty on their research presentation and design. Mock grant review sessions helped attendees learn how grant applications are evaluated. Overall, 100 percent of participants indicated that they learned about new funding opportunities, gained a better understanding of what is needed to become a successful investigator, and left the forum feeling better or fully prepared to write a grant proposal.
Follow-up assessments completed by young investigators who attended the 2009-2013 forums also show that the Young Investigator Research Forum is promoting the career progression of attendees. Since attending the forum, 81 percent of participants have published at least one peer-reviewed manuscript – for a total of more than 380 scientific papers! Eighty six percent of respondents have submitted at least one grant application as a principal investigator or Co-PI, and 54 percent have been able to get at least one grant funded.
It is exciting to see that this program is having such a positive impact on the field. Later this year when the AASM announces application details for the 2015 Young Investigator Research Forum, I encourage you to notify junior faculty and fellows about this strategic opportunity for professional growth.
Timothy Morgenthaler, MD