DETROIT (WWJ) — Wayne State University announced that the Graduate School was one of 10 institutions selected by the National Institutes of Health to lead a five-year, $18.5 million initiative aimed at strengthening the research workforce in the United States, where there is a shortage of non-academic research scientists.

The WSU Graduate School will receive $1.8 million over the next five years through the NIH’s Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training (BEST) award to implement a new program that prepares graduate and postdoctoral students to enter research careers outside of academia.

WSU was chosen in a competitive field, which included several Ivy League schools and other Michigan universities.

“More than 100 of the nation’s top educational institutions competed for the first round of funding for the NIH director’s BEST award,” Wayne State president M. Roy Wilson said. “Being selected by the NIH to help lead this important national initiative is a testament to the well-coordinated efforts of the graduate school to develop research professionals with skills that translate to careers outside of academia.”

Interim Dean of the Graduate School Ambika Mathur, who designed WSU’s BEST program, will lead its implementation. Mathur brings 10 years of experience in administering graduate and postdoctoral training programs to the program. She cited the participation of deans and faculty throughout the university and the Office of Government and Community Affairs — along with a robust internship partnership with local and national employers and an innovative new training curriculum — as the reasons why WSU was selected by the NIH.

“The long-range goal of Wayne State’s BEST program is to institutionalize these practices so our students become the next generation of innovators and leaders in science,” said Mathur. “On behalf of all of the deans and faculty throughout our graduate school, we are excited to give every student an opportunity to pursue research careers in high-demand fields outside of academia.”

Margaret Winters, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, believes WSU’s BEST program greatly enhances the value of a graduate education at WSU and hopes students take advantage of the unique opportunities it offers.

“Students who pursue a graduate degree at WSU are going to be exposed to new research career opportunities that other programs aren’t prepared to offer,” said Winters. “The combination of training and guidance they receive because of this NIH program will put them in a position to take advantage of a bevy of new research career opportunities.”

Wayne State University offers than 370 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 29,000 students.


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