Research Workforce & Early Career Development

Working Group Description

The Research Workforce and Early Career Development Working Group is committed to fostering a diverse, motivated, and healthy research workforce. Strategies we implement include:

  • Understanding the needs of early career researchers, and how HRA and HRA members can help address those needs
  • Identifying and disseminating existing policies and practices that are successful at supporting the development of early career investigators
  • Acknowledging barriers to advancement and identifying or developing strategies that can lower those barriers
  • Learn from existing grant programs of HRA members and others that foster careers of early career investigators

The career path to becoming an independent research scientist has increasingly been seen as precarious. There have been many studies and a wide variety measures implemented to address the challenges faced by junior researchers. However, the problems still exist and continue to decrease our ability to recruit and retain the best minds for careers in biomedical research. These policies not only reward conservative research over innovative ideas, but they also decrease the diversity of ideas and perspectives. Early Career Scientists were already a very vulnerable population before the COVID-19 pandemic, and this crisis has just exposed many of the underlying weaknesses that permeate the existing scientific enterprise. The implications of the pandemic are not just short-term, but have the potential  to negatively impact the biomedical research workforce for years to come. The Research Workforce and Early Career Development Working Group is committed to working together to enhance the health and wellbeing of both individual researchers and the biomedical research workforce.

Potential topics this group will prioritize in 2021 are listed in this google sheet and include:

  • COVID-19 impact on early-career scientists and caregivers
  • HRA member prioritization of funding for early career-researchers
  • Mentoring
  • Gender and racial and ethnic differences (crossover with DEI)
  • Areas of collaboration among members and the broader community

Working Group Plans:

  • March 4th, 2021 meeting to discuss topics, set priorities (potentially define subgroups to work on specific projects)
  • Set recurring call for every other month in 2021
  • Potentially survey the HRA membership to create repository of information
    • collect information on grantee trainings/workshops used by HRA members
    • collect strategies from members who have programs designed to foster the careers of early career researchers
    • collect tools and metrics HRA members use in evaluating success of programs


The Research Workforce and Early Career Development Working Group is being co-chaired by: