Expectations of Pre-doctoral and Postdoctoral Trainees

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Biosocial Training Program

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Expectations of Pre-doctoral and Postdoctoral Trainees


Course Requirements

Pre-doctoral trainees will be expected to complete a total of 21 hours of coursework and postdoctoral trainees are expected to complete 19 hours of coursework. A model course schedule for a 3-year pre-doctoral trainee is shown below.  (The post-doctoral traineeship is expected to be 2-3 years). The introductory integration course is a new course and will be offered starting in Fall 2018. More information on highly recommended courses to fulfill the required credits below can be found here.

Model Course Sequence for Pre-doctoral Trainees

Year 1

Summer, Year 1

Introductory Integration Course (3 credits)

Emphasis Area Course I (3 credits)

Professionalization Seminar (1 credit)

Research Practicum (10 hr/wk)

Emphasis Area Course II (3 credits)

Emphasis Area Course III (3 credits)

Professionalization Seminar (1 credit)

Research Practicum (10 hr/wk)

Dissertation Proposal Writing

Integration Symposium

Research Practicum (10 hr/wk)

 

Year 2

Summer, Year 2

Advanced Integration Course (3 credits)

Dissertation Proposal Writing

Professionalization Seminar (1 credit)

Research Practicum (10 hr/wk)

Dissertation Proposal Defended

Dissertation Writing

Professionalization Seminar (1 credit)

Research Practicum (10 hr/wk)

 

Dissertation Writing

Integration Symposium

Research Practicum (10 hr/wk)

 

Year 3

Summer, Year 3

Dissertation Writing

Professionalization Seminar (1 credit)

Research Practicum (10 hr/wk)

Dissertation Writing

Professionalization Seminar (1 credit)

Research Practicum (10 hr/wk)

Dissertation completion

Publications

Grant writing

Research Practicum

Both pre-doctoral and post-doctoral trainees will gain experience conducting interdisciplinary research through hands-on experience. We will require incoming predocs and postdocs to assemble a team of two co-mentors. At least 1 of the co-mentors must be from a discipline that is different from the pre-doctoral or post-doctoral disciplinary home. The team will meet twice per year to review the trainee's progress in meeting goals, to offer recommendations about new activities and opportunities, and to provide professional guidance as the trainee prepares grant and job applications. Each trainee will be assigned to the funded research project of one of our training faculty. We will be particularly cognizant in assigning trainees to projects that “do integration”; that is, ideally, the projects include faculty from both the health/biological and social sciences and are producing manuscripts that lead to presentation and publication in diverse scientific disciplines, while also maintaining work that can be published in their home disciplinary area. Trainees will be expected to devote 10 hours per week to the project to which they are assigned as an apprentice (or collaborator for post-doctoral trainees); such a practicum is expected to result in enhanced research productivity for both the trainee and the project and will serve as important hands-on training ground for integration. These practicums will last one year, after which trainees may or may not be re-assigned depending upon annual reports from both trainees and project principal investigators.

Interdisciplinary Professionalization Seminar

Each trainee will be required to enroll each semester in a 1-credit hour professionalization/seminar course. This course is currently listed in the Department of Sociology (SOCI 950). This one-credit course provides trainees with a context and forum to advance their understanding of the scientific challenges, ethical issues, and professional activities associated with conducting interdisciplinary biosocial research. The course meets once per week for one hour.

CPC Interdisciplinary Research Seminars

Biosocial trainees are strongly encouraged to attend the CPC Interdisciplinary Research Seminar on a regular basis. The CPC Interdisciplinary Research Seminar highlights speakers who are conducting cutting-edge research, some of whom are leading biosocial researchers. The CPC Interdisciplinary Research Seminar series can be found here.

UNC Symposium on Integrative Approaches to Life Course Health

All trainees will be required to submit an abstract and present their work at the UNC Symposium on Integrative Approaches to Life Course Health. This symposium will include oral and poster presentations from trainees, poster awards, a lunch presentation by a leading junior researcher, and a keynote dinner presentation by a leading senior researcher in the field who we will bring to UNC for this symposium. The first symposium will be held in June 2019.

IAPHS Attendance

All trainees are required to submit abstracts to interdisciplinary and gap discipline national conferences or to present interdisciplinary research within their home discipline conferences. As part of this requirement, Biosocial trainees must attend the Interdisciplinary Association for Population Health Sciences (IAPHS), a new annual meeting for researchers using integrative approaches in population health.

Responsible Conduct in Research Training

Following the guiding principles provided by NIH, trainees will be trained in the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR). Specifically, trainees will be exposed to a wide depth and breadth of research ethics training opportunities (shown below) corresponding to the recommended topic areas outlined in the November 2009 “NIH Update on the Requirement for Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research.”

  • conflict of interest – personal, professional, and financial
  • policies regarding human subjects, live vertebrate animal subjects in research, and safe laboratory practices
  • mentor/mentee responsibilities and relationships • collaborative research including collaborations with industry
  • peer review
  • data acquisition and laboratory tools; management, sharing and ownership
  • research misconduct and policies for handling misconduct
  • responsible authorship and publication
  • the scientist as a responsible member of society
  • contemporary ethical issues in biomedical research, and the environmental and societal impacts of scientific research

In addition to basic certification and one-on-one individual ethics mentoring through preceptor interactions, each trainee must attend a minimum of four different approved sessions on ethics in research during each appointment year.

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