Research Workforce and Early Career Development Working Group
(formally the Early Career Scientist Group)

Working Group Description:
To help HRA members build a diverse, motivated and committed research workforce by:
– Creating resources to facilitate funder’s learning about grant programs for early career investigators
– Facilitating opportunities to learn how HRA members can contribute to development and enhancement of the health research workforce
– Identifying and disseminating practices to support development of early career investigators
Proposed projects include:

  • Creating polices and benchmarks on common issues like maternity leave, work-life balance, and career changes
  • Collectively defining “early career scientist”
  • Transitioning the existing early career programs comparison Excel worksheet into a functional resource for HRA members
  • Centralizing existing resources on programmatic evaluation and identifying other useful materials for members
  • Creating a resource for HRA members to clearly see what each organization requires in reporting from grantees and create a repository of relevant forms for HRA membership reference

In 2018, the Research Workforce and Early Career Development Working Group is being co-chaired by:

  • Kara Coleman, Project Director, Biomedical Programs, The Pew Charitable Trusts
  • Alycia Halladay, Chief Science Officer, Autism Science Foundation
  • Kristin Smith, Senior Director, External Programs, New York Stem Cell Foundation Research Institute


  • Key findings of the HRA worforce development survey can be found here.  For a copy of the dataset please email Annette.
  • Notes from the 3/31/16 breakout discussion at the members’ meeting in NYC can be found here, and the table of early career awards that was created in 2011 can be found here.
  • Download a list of member organization and the Career Development awards they sponsor here.
  • 9/22/2015:   Jessica Polka, PhD, and Kristin Krukenberg, PhD, both of Harvard Medical School presented a webinar “Shaping the Future of Research:  A Perspective from Junior Scientists.”  Slides from their presentation can be found here.   Kristin and Jessica were organizers of the Future of Research Symposium held in Boston in October 2014 and presented the primary issues they were seeking to address through the organization “Future of Research” (, which was launched with a symposium in Fall 2014 in order to bring together researchers of all fields with the common thread of interest being the direction of academic research from the perspective of young scientists. Examples of topics discussed on the webinar were: the structure of the workforce and the numbers of young scientists compared to their chances of getting a tenured position; funding; metrics and incentives in publishing research and securing academic jobs and funding; and training. They shared recommended actions for funders of biomedical research. A national conversation was initiated with the publication of “Rescuing US biomedical research from its systemic flaws<>” by Bruce Alberts, Marc Kirschner, Shirley Tilghman and Harold Varmus (2014). These leading academics in biomedical research described a series of issues they felt were leading to a hyper-competitive environment in the US academic system, negatively affecting young researchers, and potentially the state of academic research itself in the US. They were particularly concerned that young scientists were not yet widely heard in this debate.
  • 9/4/2014:   Webinar on understanding and addressing gender disparities in early career success presented by Reshma Jagsi, M.D., D. Phil., Associate Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Michigan Medical School.  Slides from her presentation can be found here.
  • 11/17/2011: Many thanks to Rhonda Aizenberg, Ph.D., Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, Zeshaan Rasheed, M.D., Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (a Pancreatic Cancer Action Network awardee), and Mike Melner, Ph.D. and Kenly Belt of the American Cancer Society for presenting in a panel discussion on providing advocacy training for awardees. Slides from the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, Dr. Rasheed, and the American Cancer Society are now available. In addition, both organizations have shared additional resources. The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network has provided a description of their Advocacy Day as well as a video on advocacy featuring Dr. Rasheed. The American Cancer Society has provided a handout of talking points they give to their grantees, as well as slides from their grantee orientation and a video focused on grantee involvement featuring Kasandra Riley, Ph.D., a postdocoral fellow from Yale University.
  • 9/30/2011 Working Group Meeting:The Working Group met in conjunction with the September Members’ Meeting, with an agenda focused on a a panel discussion highlighting the myriad of ways that funders support and enhance the career development of their awards. Thanks to Kenly Belt, American Cancer Society, for providing notes.