Postdoctoral research training of full-time faculty in academic departments of medicine
Levey, G.S.; Sherman, C.R.; Gentile, N.O.; Hough, L.J.; Dial, T.H.; Jolly, P.
Annals of Internal Medicine 109(5): 414-418
This report shows the results of a survey of 5604 faculty in departments of medicine, 4200 of whom had postdoctoral research training. As a follow-up to a previous study of research activity in the same population, this retrospective survey focused on location of training, source of funding, structure of the training program, impact of the training experience on career development, and respondents' recommendations for changes in training programs. A predominant finding is that most postdoctoral training occurred in medical schools, and the primary source of funding was the National Institutes of Health. For faculty members with the MD degree, being an active researcher and principal investigator for a peer-reviewed research grant were associated with length of training. The average length of time between the end of postdoctoral research training and obtaining the first peer-reviewed research grant was 24 months, regardless of length of training, source of training support, training site, or type of academic degree (MD, MD-PhD, or PhD). The results of this survey suggest a tentative formula to be a successful researcher in academic medicine: 2 or more years of postdoctoral research training, including formal course work in the fundamental sciences pertinent to biomedical research; 2 to 3 years of full research support from the academic institution until the first extramural grant is obtained; and commitment of at least 33% of time to research activities. The results also suggest directions for change and improvement in future research training programs.