With funding from a $5.5 million renewal grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Stony Brook University Center for Inclusive Education is leading the NIH IRACDA (Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Award) Postdoctoral Training Program for an additional five years, which includes increased funding to grow the program from 15 to 20 postdoctoral scholars.
Stony Brook IRACDA, funded by the NIH’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences, is a fellowship program for postdoctoral scholars in the biological sciences. Scholars advance their teaching skills and research experience during a three-year mentored fellowship at Stony Brook University and at minority-serving partner Institutions CUNY Brooklyn College, SUNY College at Old Westbury, Farmingdale State College and Suffolk County Community College.
The purpose of the NIH IRACDA program is to develop a diverse group of highly trained biomedical and behavioral scientists to address the nation’s biomedical, behavioral and clinical research needs. The program promotes consortia between research-intensive institutions and partner institutions that have a historical mission and a demonstrated commitment to providing training, encouragement and assistance to students from groups underrepresented in the biomedical and behavioral research enterprise of the nation.
The program is intended to facilitate the progress of postdoctoral candidates toward research and teaching careers in academia. It also motivates the next generation of scientists at partner institutions and promotes linkages between Stony Brook University and partner institutions that can lead to further collaborations in research and teaching.
“Through their enhanced communication skills and introduction of innovative STEM teaching practices, IRACDA scholars are transforming the learning experiences of the next generation of college students,” said Distinguished Professor Carol Carter, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, and Stony Brook IRACDA Principal Investigator.
“Under the leadership of Professor Jorge Benach and the Center for Inclusive Education, the IRACDA program has had a transformative impact on the training that Stony Brook provides postdoctoral scholars and graduate students. This new award cycle will see an expansion of the program, continued improvement to our training practices, and an exciting new partnership with Farmingdale State College that will enrich the teaching experiences that we provide to our scholars,” said Interim Associate Vice President for Research Miguel Garcia-Diaz, Stony Brook IRACDA Principal Investigator.
IRACDA scholars spend 75 percent of their time conducting research at Stony Brook and 25 percent developing their pedagogy skills through training and teaching. Institutions seek out IRACDA scholars who, by completion of the program, possess state-of-the-art instructional and transformative research skill sets. In the past decade, more than 70 percent of Stony Brook University trained IRACDA scholars have obtained tenure-track academic positions, an outcome that is much higher than postdoctoral trainees without IRACDA training. IRACDA is responsible for doubling (7.6 percent to 15 percent) the racial/ethnic diversity of the domestic postdoctoral population at SBU since baseline 2010.
“It has been most rewarding to see the long-term impact created the IRACDA program. Now in its 11th year, the program has trained 26 scholars and will have at least 10 more in residence this year. The program has also gone full circle. We now have IRACDA alums who are assistant faculty serving as teaching mentors for current scholars. Tracy Callender, an IRACDA alum from our first cohort, is now an assistant professor of biology at Farmingdale State College and serves as a teaching mentor and IRACDA site PI at her institution,” said Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion Karian Wright, Stony Brook IRACDA Principal Investigator.
For more information about Stony Brook IRACDA, visit the website.