Extramural Associates Program Bolsters Research
Three NIH extramural associates (EAs) recently completed a 5-month residency training period at NIH and have now returned to their respective campuses to implement their institutional plan for expanded faculty participation in the nation's biomedical and behavioral research enterprise.
They were succeeded by a summer EA class that began its 10-week residency June 1; in the class are Dr. Claudette McFadden, Bethune Cookman University; Dr. Maria Alvarez, El Paso Community College; and Dr. Ulla Craig, University of Guam.
The EA Program, a component of the Office of Extramural Research, began at NIH in 1978 as part of the then Division of Research Grants. The primary objective was to provide a mechanism to inform research non-intensive institutions about opportunities for increased faculty and student participation in NIH extramural research and training programs. This was accomplished through selection of science faculty and administrators from eligible institutions to participate in a 6-month cost-sharing residency experience at NIH.
After several years of realizing only minimal success in achieving its goal, EA administrators added a grant program to the residency. Because EA-eligible institutions are primarily teaching academies, research infrastructure at most of the schools is nonexistent. The purpose of the grant--the Extramural Associates Research Development Award (EARDA)--is to bolster the research infrastructure by allowing such things as release time for the EARDA principal investigator, support for part-time clerical assistance, purchase of office equipment and supplies, the conduct of faculty pilot research, membership in professional organizations, travel to conferences and workshops, and support of grant proposal writing workshops.
There are two levels of EA participation: Part A is a 5-month residency at NIH available to those institutions that award masters and Ph.D. degrees in the biomedical or behavioral sciences and professional science related degrees. Upon returning to their home institution, it is expected that EAs will either establish an office of research infrastructure or augment an existing similar unit. Part B is a 10-week NIH summer residency available to baccalaureate degree granting institutions and selected community colleges. The intent of Part B is to strengthen an office of research information and to disseminate information to faculty and students about research and training opportunities.
An in-depth assessment of the program's effectiveness, particularly following addition of the EARDA grant, is set to begin in about 2 years; the results of a preliminary assessment are encouraging.
For more information about the program, call 435-2736; fax (301) 480-0393 or email program director Dr. Matthew Kinnard, email@example.com.
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