The ACR Research and Education Foundation recently completed a comprehensive review of its core awards and grants portfolio to assure that it was effective in meeting the needs of junior or early career physician-scientists and health professionals.
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Explore This IssueMay 2009
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“Typically, support for initial training comes from NIH-sponsored training grants and from REF development awards,” explains REF president Leslie J. Crofford, MD. “As research experience and accomplishments increase, young scientists continue to require mentoring, but with an eye towards developing a more focused area of research that will take them to independence.”
Over the last several years, funding for the rheumatology research community has been in serious decline, threatening the advancement of care for rheumatology patients. Therefore, the REF convened a task force and charged it with carefully and thoroughly reviewing the REF core awards and grants portfolio with respect to the efficacy and need for each award currently offered, as well as to consider needs for new grant mechanisms.
After careful consideration, and with input from various constituencies, the task force concluded that it was necessary to reduce the number of awards offered by combining several mechanisms and making the application process more clear.
The streamlined portfolio represents the same commitment and the same balance of dollars between education and research that the REF has provided in the past—over $4 million—but in a more simplified way that provides a clear path for young scientists to make the transition from postdoc to independent researcher. (See “REF Support for Building a Career in Rheumatology,” below.)
The hope is to encourage medical students to enter the field of rheumatology, strengthen rheumatology training programs, advance rheumatology research, and bring findings from bench to bedside—ultimately improving patients’ lives.