Letter From the JCTS Editor
Preserving the Future
In some ways, our current battle with COVID-19 resembles a stalemate during a war. In this situation it is hard to know if the front lines will be stubbornly constant or if a breakthrough might present itself. Many lessons could be drawn from wartime setbacks due to failed strategies, vividly underscoring the need for new thinking. Through thick and thin, one sentiment during times of war has been constant, a strong support for the troops.
We have seen this type of support for the health care workforce during the COVID struggle from many corners of society. In this situation, an equally strong sentiment of support needs to be vocalized for our trainees. Even under more normal conditions, they face uncertain career paths, and at this time, the uncertainty is even more pronounced. Just keeping a research project going has been very difficult, and while distant discussions and Zoom meetings to some extent fill a void, it is hard to directly replicate the person-to-person meetings and discussions that, more often than not, produce novel ideas. In addition, the need of the next generation, probably to a higher degree than in times past, to balance life-work issues and for those with children to address complex concerns for childcare and schooling add to an already stressful situation. This is likely to be unusually challenging in the coming months as parents, public health officials, schools, preschools and childcare facilities struggle to adapt to rapidly changing conditions and find workable solutions.
Other more long-term challenges include the issue to what extent universities will face dramatic changes in coming years. It is clear that the financial underpinnings for many institutions are being severely tested. The jury is probably still out whether there will be a return to something resembling pre-COVID conditions or whether higher education and academic research will change in a major way. The latter might result in a changing need for future faculty positions or perhaps the ability to provide institutional support, particularly critical for trainees and faculty early in their careers. While there are many concerns facing all of us, the welfare of trainees active in the scientific enterprise requires particular attention with a full understanding of the many challenges they face. It is abundantly clear that the future health of the academic research enterprise is closely linked to the emergence of a well-trained and productive new generation of scientists. We need to ensure that our trainees are as protected as possible and that the already rather leaky career pipeline does not burst fully open.
The ability for trainees to publish their findings is critical for their ongoing development. I want to assure everyone that JCTS welcomes a wide range of submissions, representing all phases of the translational spectrum. The Editorial Board and the colleagues who support the journal as reviewers are firmly committed to an expeditious handling, and we encourage trainees and their mentors to consider the journal as a home for their findings.
Lars Berglund, M.D., Ph.D.
Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Clinical and Translational Science (JCTS)
Join us Thursday, September 17 at 1:00 pm EST for "Teaching Translational Science: Examples from the Field of Dissemination and Implementation." In this one-hour session, Rachel C. Shelton, ScD, MPH and Aaron L. Leppin, MD, MS will reflect on their experiences teaching dissemination and implementation science to diverse groups.
ACTS institutional and individual members can attend this live webinar for free. There is a $25 cost for non-members.
Scholar SIG Survey
The Scholar SIG invites you to complete a brief survey to gauge interest in future events and opportunities.
The Scholar SIG provides trainees and other early-career scholars with experiences and opportunities to advance their careers in academia, industry, government, and/or entrepreneurship in the fields of clinical and translational science. ACTS offers its members the opportunity to participate in SIGs related to the field of clinical research and translational science. SIGs connect individuals who share similar goals and interests, providing a channel to network and participate in knowledge and resource sharing among peers.
Participation is voluntary, and there are no associated costs for ACTS members.
Lasker Clinical Research Scholars Program
The National Institutes of Health, in partnership with the Lasker Foundation, is pleased to announce the 2020-21 Lasker Clinical Research Scholars Program. The program supports clinical researchers in the early stages of their careers, to promote their development to fully independent positions. Lasker Scholars are appointed as independent, tenure-track level investigators in the NIH Intramural Research Program for 5 years, followed by 3 years of funding at an extramural research institution (up to $500,000 direct costs per year) or continued appointment in the intramural program. Candidates must have a clinical doctoral degree and a professional license to practice in the United States, and cannot already have obtained tenure at a research institution. The application deadline is August 28, 2020.
More information can be obtained at the Lasker Scholar website, or by contacting Dr. Chuck Dearolf at LaskerScholar@nih.gov.
Journal of Clinical and Translational Science
Volume 4 / Issue 4 of the Journal of Clinical and Translational Science and the 2020 Abstract Supplemental are now available online!
JCTS's mission is to provide a forum for the rapid communication of topics of interest and relevance to the large and diverse community of clinical and translational scientists with the goal of improving the efficiency with which health needs inform research and new diagnostics, therapies, and preventive measures reach the public. The Association for Clinical and Translational Science has partnered with the American Physician Scientists Association (APSA) and the Clinical Research Forum (CRF) to support the growth and development of JCTS.
Submit your article today to be featured in future issues of JCTS! Please also visit the JCTS website for information on our themed issue related to Design, Development, Evaluation, and Dissemination of Team Science Interventions in Clinical and Translational Research.
News From the Hill
News From the Hill: August 21, 2020
During the run-up to the August congressional recess (the ceremonially start to campaign season), Congress was unable to make progress on a variety of critical legislative items. Most notably, legislators could not find common group on a COVID-19 relief package. The House has advanced a comprehensive $3 trillion proposal while the Senate tepidly acknowledged a $1 trillion proposal. The disparity in funding coupled with differing priorities continues to slow the process to craft a final bill. More recently, Senate Republicans floated the idea of a “skinny” COVID-19 package. The reception to this idea has been mixed with some calling it a political stunt and others calling it a necessary stop gap measure.
See the full newsletter on the ACTS Advocacy page.
Translational Science Today
Fall schedule for biostatistics seminars available.
Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute announces its Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Research Design (BERD) Research Methods Seminar Series schedule for the fall 2020 semester. The Research Methods Seminar Series features...