From 2015 to 2017, HHMI hosted the Science Education Constellation Studios to respond to the needs of the HHMI grantee community. The Studios were held in the fall and spring of each year and chaired by HHMI program directors and professors, engaging 40-50 participants at each meeting. Each Studio was constructed to provide an opportunity for participants to explore a particular shared interest or challenge through focused activities and interactions with each other as well as invited science education experts. The fall 2016 Studio produced a summary report entitled Implementing Course-based Research Experiences at Scale.
Exceptional Research Opportunities Program
Established in 2003, the Exceptional Research Opportunities Program (EXROP) was designed to ensure that young scientists committed to diversity are prepared to assume leadership roles in science, including among college and university faculties responsible for developing the next generation of scientists. The program provided talented undergraduates from groups underrepresented in the sciences the opportunity to engage in summer research with HHMI-funded scientist-mentors. Over the course of 16 years, nearly 1000 undergraduates from 175 colleges and universities were matched with 263 HHMI investigators, professors, early career scientists, and Janelia group leaders. Almost 50% of the 555 EXROP alumni who have earned a baccalaureate degrees have gone on to graduate programs.
In 2019, HHMI suspended EXROP to enable the exploration of other potential mechanisms that will have a positive and unique impact on large numbers of students.
Grants to Colleges and Universities
In 1988 HHMI established its longest-running science education initiative, the institutional grants program, to strengthen undergraduate science education at US colleges and universities. Since 1988 in 16 separate competitions, HHMI awarded more than $870 million in 767 grants to 274 public and private colleges and universities. These grants supported more than 80,000 undergraduate students who engaged in research experiences, thus helping to establish undergraduate research cultures on campuses. The HHMI grants supported faculty development and curriculum reform on many campuses, and provided professional development to more than 95,000 K-12 science teachers.
The most recent competition for 4-year colleges and master’s-granting universities was in 2012. Through that competition, HHMI selected 47 small colleges and universities as the recipients of grants totaling over $50 million to prepare undergraduates to become leaders in science, medicine, and society. The 2012 grantees produced a Compendium of Major Accomplishments prior to their capstone meeting in 2017.
The most recent competition for research universities was in 2014, Through that competition, HHMI selected 37 research universities to receive $60 million in grants over 5 years. The 2014 competition specifically challenged universities to develop and sustain strategies that would significantly increase the persistence in science of undergraduate students from all backgrounds.
The 1988-2014 Undergraduate Grants to Colleges and Universities program was the precursor to the present Inclusive Excellence initiative (IE), which is open to both colleges and universities. IE represents an intentional pivot away from HHMI’s support for programmatic interventions and towards building institutional capacity for science education reform.
HHMI-NIBIB Interfaces Initiative
In 2005, HHMI and the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) formed a partnership to support the development of new training opportunities in emerging interdisciplinary research environments. The goal of the program was to help biomedical research institutions develop a cadre of PhD scientists who trained to conduct interdisciplinary research at the intersections of the biomedical, physical, computational, and mathematical disciplines. The initiative consisted of two phases. HHMI funded Phase I, which supported the establishment of new interdisciplinary training programs at research institutions. Phase II, funded by NIBIB, sustained the training programs through their critical early years.
HHMI-NIH Research Scholars (Cloister) Program
In 1985, the HHMI-NIH Research Scholars Program, also known as the Cloister Program, was established to give outstanding students at US medical schools the opportunity to receive research training at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. In 2011, HHMI ended its direct support of the Cloister program, allowing NIH to continue the idea via a lab and clinical program for research training for medical and dental students that builds on the NIH Clinical Research Training Program (CRTP).
International Student Research Fellowships
In 2011, HHMI established the International Student Research Fellowships Program to support exceptionally talented graduate students from outside of the United States who were attending graduate school in the US. The program aimed to fill a critical gap in graduate education funding and promote international collaborative science that has the potential to span national border. In the six years of the initiative, HHMI invested $15.8 million in the support of 186 students from 43 countries.
Medical Research Fellows
The Medical Research Fellows program was initiated in 1989 to encourage the development of future physician scientists by providing opportunities for medical, veterinary, and dental students to engage in research experiences. Awards through 2018 supported over 1,800 students in mentored research laboratory training through the program. Additionally, fellows participated in national and regional professional development activities and interacted with HHMI investigators. Multiple organizations partnered with HHMI to support these fellows, and included American Society of Human Genetics, Burroughs Welcome Fund, Duchenne Research Fund, Foundation Fighting Blindness, Parkinson’s Foundation, and Society of Interventional Radiology Foundation.
Med into Grad Initiative
In 2005, HHMI launched the Med into Grad (MIG) Initiative to address the growing gap between basic biology and medicine. The Institute recognized that biomedical scientists could benefit from additional training to help them translate laboratory-based research into effective medical treatments and diagnostics. In two competitions, HHMI awarded $26 million in grants to 25 graduate institutions. This funding enabled them to initiate or enhance existing programs designed to help students obtain the skills necessary to partner with clinician-scientists in the application of emerging biological knowledge to medical practice. These programs trained students to recognize and capitalize on potential translational opportunities arising from their research and, in some cases, influencing the direction of their future investigations.
Meyerhoff Adaptation Project
In 2014, HHMI began its support of a collaborative project between the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State), and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC Chapel Hill)—three institutions with documented success in fostering diversity in the sciences—to learn how the nationally acclaimed Meyerhoff Scholars Program, which has an unparalleled record of advancing diversity in the sciences, could be successfully adapted. The Meyerhoff Adaptation Project examined the challenges and solutions associated with adapting and implementing the Meyerhoff Scholars Program at other research universities.
Physician-Scientist Early Career Program
In 2006 to 2009, the Physician-Scientist Early Career Program provided early career support to exceptional physician-scientists. This program helped launch the academic careers of 63 promising scientists, all alumni of the HHMI-NIH Research Scholars and HHMI Research Training Fellowships programs. Each awardee received up to $375,000 over a five-year period, and many used this support to help them compete successfully for NIH RO1 grants.
Postdoctoral Research Fellowships for Physicians
In 1990 to 2006, the Postdoctoral Research Fellowships for Physicians program supported more than 400 physicians pursuing advanced research training and facilitate their transition into research careers. The three-year fellowships provided mentor-guided training in research directed toward an understanding of basic biological processes or disease mechanisms. After completing the fellowship, most fellows proceeded to independent faculty or research appointments and were able to prepare highly competitive research proposals.
Precollege Outreach Initiative for Biomedical Research Institutions
In 1999-2007, the Precollege Outreach initiative provided grants to medical schools, dental schools, veterinary schools, public health schools, hospitals, academic health centers, and independent research institutions to support their work with school systems, museums, and other partners skilled in delivering science content to K-12 students.
Predoctoral Fellowships in Biological Sciences
The Predoctoral Fellowships in Biological Sciences promoted excellence in biomedical research by helping prospective researchers with exceptional promise obtain a high-quality graduate education. The program began in 1988 and provided five years of financial support to over 1,200 students pursuing a PhD, with the final cohort awarded in 2005. Alumni of this program have followed a variety of paths to their success: academia, industry, science writing and science policy, and other parts of the nonprofit sector.