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National Institutes of Health

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

2018 Annual Report of the Division of Intramural Research

Office of Education

Yvette Pittman
Erin Walsh
Carol Carnahan
  • Yvette R. Pittman, PhD, Director, Office of Education
  • Erin Walsh, PhD, Program Manager
  • Carol Carnahan, Program Coordinator

The Goals and objectives of the Office of Education can be summarized as follows. To meet the training needs of intramural scientists, fellows, and students at all levels, the Office of Education recruits and develops academic support programs, contributes to mentoring, evaluation, and career guidance, and creates new training initiatives. Our professional development workshops and activities typically include public speaking workshops, job interviewing, writing and editorial services for professional school and job applications, grantsmanship workshops, academic and non-academic career presentations, one-on-one counseling, teaching opportunities, and lab management programs. Additional areas of involvement include programming for career exploration, networking among fellows and alumni, grantsmanship, and the enhancement of fellows’ competitiveness for research awards and future career opportunities, as well as support of new tenure-track investigators.

Notable accomplishments of the past year

The Office of Education organizes numerous workshops, programs, and individualized opportunities for a population averaging 250 trainees, including postdoctoral, visiting, and research fellows; clinical fellows and medical students; graduate students; and postbaccalaureate fellows and summer trainees.

Our TmT (Three-minute Talks) competition, now in its fifth year, is held in conjunction with NIDCR, NIAMS, NHGRI, and NEI. Jakob Gutzmann in the laboratory of Dax Hoffman received the third-place award.

We continued our Graduate Student Talks initiative, established in 2014, which provides the Institute’s graduate students with experience in presenting their thesis research to a non-specialist scientific audience.

An online Annual Progress Review for fellows, developed by the Office and launched in 2016, tracks scientific and career development and progress. As part of investigators' assessments of mentoring, the reports by fellows are analyzed and provided for the Board of Scientific Counsellors site visits.

The database of NICHD alumni from 2008 to the present continues to be updated.

We compiled a valuable list of organizations that accept grant applications from NIH intramural fellows, through both NIH and non-NIH funding mechanisms.

In September 2018, the Division of Intramural Research gave its 11th Mentor of the Year awards to LiQi Li, Section on Cellular and Developmental Biology, in the investigator category, and to Marina Venero Galanternik, Section on Vertebrate Organogenesis, as fellow.

For NICHD, 26 Fellows Award for Research Excellence (FARE) awards were made for the 2019 competition.

Infographic depicting the activities of the Office of Education, including: leadership and management; research awards; teaching; research ethics; careers; medical and grad school preparation; writing and publishing; grants; annual fellows retreat; and science communication.

Click image to view.
Activities of the Office of Education

In addition to the Fellows Intramural Grants Supplement (FIGS) continuing to recognize and stimulate grant applications among fellows, we launched the second cycle for our new competitive internal funding opportunity for NICHD postdoctoral and clinical fellows, our Intramural Research Fellowships (IRFs). Its ultimate goal is to promote fellows' grant writing and to enhance their awareness of various components for an NIH grant application.

The Institute has established an exchange program with INSERM (the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale in France), which provides a unique opportunity for US and French scientists to obtain postdoctoral training with French and US mentors, respectively.

The Fellows Recruitment Incentive Award (FRIA) continues to support investigators who recruit postdocs from populations traditionally under-represented in science.

The alumni of our NICHD Developing Talent Scholars program, in its eighth year, now number 12 individuals; two of our new alumni are starting professional school at Cornell University and Pennsylvania State University, and five new postbaccalaureate fellows joined the program in 2018. The Scholars program focuses on developing talent and supporting trainees' academic and career progression.

We offered a three-week summer training course for college teaching and curriculum development associated with University of Maryland.

Postdoctoral fellows were also given the opportunity to organize and teach our annual course for postbaccalaureate trainees, which entered its 13th year.

The Office of Education is fully committed to and actively involved in graduate and professional school advising and career counseling for all of our fellows. NICHD, along with four other institutes, launched a new career development program this year, specifically directed at those fellows interested in careers outside academia. The Planning and Career Exploration (PACE) program provides fellows with key resources to explore various scientific careers and helps them set achievable goals and build their professional networks.

The 14th annual meeting of fellows, held for about 120 people to address scientific developments and careers, took place at the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian and featured keynote speaker Dr. Yvette Seger, Director of Science Policy at the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), who shared her perspective on science policy careers. Each spring, this retreat includes presentations by fellows and a poster presentation by each attendee. The program is developed and run by a fellows’ steering committee.

The NICHD Connection monthly newsletter continues its focus on mentoring, careers, and academic programs for young scientists, publishing its 100th issue in September 2018 and reaching all members of the intramural division and our alumni.

Yvette Pittman became Director of the Office, and Erin Walsh was added to its staff as Program Manager.


For further information, contact Dr. Yvette Pittman, Dr. Erin Walsh, or Carol Carnahan.

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