Programs & Funding

Career development awards for new investigators from foundations, specialty societies, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and other organizations have been considered critical to developing independent researchers. These grants provide awardees salary support (thus protected time) for research training and supervised research and ensure that they receive mentorship from accomplished researchers. This experience then provides the foundation for awardees to successfully compete for larger research grants (such as NIH R awards) and achieve research independence as recognized experts in their fields. The NIH and Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) support this model and fund a career development award (K award) portfolio that has awarded over $8 billion since 1957.1 In the early 1990s, the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM) sought to reduce the challenges faced by emergency physician-scientists who aim to become independent researchers and to advance the science of emergency medicine (EM).2 SAEM funded several training grants and specifically established the Research Training Grant (1998) and the Institutional Research Training Grant (2002) as the flagship opportunities. Now funded by the SAEM Foundation, these grants are thought to be important initial opportunities for new investigators who desire to successfully compete for NIH and AHRQ K awards. However, the evidence for the value of these awards has been limited to a description of the trajectory of SAEM grant recipients. 3 The Society had intended for the SAEM grants to prepare EM researchers to apply for K awards, just as the K awards prepare researchers to compete for and receive NIH independent research grants (R01).

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