A recent article in Proto Magazine, a publication of Massachusetts General Hospital, discusses the need to fund young researchers. The article points out that in 1980, 16 percent of investigators who received National Institutes of Health grants were 36 or younger. By 2014, that number dropped to just three percent.
In June, the NIH announced it was launching the Next Generation Researchers Initiative “to bolster support for early-stage and mid-career investigators to address longstanding challenges faced by researchers trying to embark upon and sustain independent research careers.” The details of this initiative are still being worked out.
Recognizing the need to encourage this younger generation of scientists, The Campbell Foundation recently provided a $25,000 grant to the Miami Center for AIDS research (or Miami CFAR) at the University of Miami. CFAR is home to the first National Institutes of Health funded AIDS research center in the state of Florida.
In 2015, the mentoring climate among HIV researchers at UM was assessed and results suggested the need for activities to enhance mentoring skills. CFAR’s Dr. Maria Alcaide reached out to The Campbell Foundation for financial assistance to grow its mentoring program. The $25,000 grant, which was awarded in June, will be used to conduct a mentoring workshop designed to encourage and support the development of the next generation of HIV scientists.
Every young investigator needs a mentor to help them to succeed and become independent investigators, noted Dr. Alcaide.
“Miami is the epicenter for HIV in South Florida and it’s important that we conduct good research in this area. We have a lot of challenges and a creating pool of young investigators in our region is crucial to ending the HIV epidemic in our area,” said Dr. Alcaide.
Although The Campbell Foundation’s main focus since it was established in 1995 has been to fund groundbreaking research geared toward finding a cure for HIV/AIDS, we also believe strongly in the need to support those conducting that research. We hope that our grant will serve as an important step toward assisting the next generation of young scientists in the field of HIV and AIDS research, as well as training doctors that will be specializing in HIV care. Maybe one day one of them will be the one to find a cure.