Emily Bell, PhD, associate director, and Miguel Burnier, MD, PhD, director of the Desjardins Centre for Advanced Training at the RI-MUHC.

Leaders of the Desjardins Centre for Advanced Training at the RI-MUHC have been awarded new funding from the FRQS to improve career and professional development for research trainees

The Desjardins Centre for Advanced Training (DCAT) team at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) has just been awarded an ambitious new grant from the Fonds de recherche du Quebec – Science (FRQ-S). This funding is part of an ongoing investment in trainees, enabling a needs assessment of career and professional development for graduate students. DCAT will be leading a collaboration among four McGill-affiliated research centres: the RI-MUHC, the Lady Davis Institute, the Douglas Research Centreand the Centre de recherche en biologie structurale, which together are home to over 1,700 research trainees.

“This first phase of funding will launch renewed reflection on how we support the career preparedness of our trainees. We will prepare the groundwork for a multi-institutional infrastructure of graduate and postdoctoral career and professional development,” says Miguel Burnier, MD, PhD, director of Training and Development at the RI-MUHC and director of DCAT.

“Over the next six months, our consortium will be speaking to trainees across the four centres to gather a wealth of information about their career goals and training needs,” adds Emily Bell, PhD, associate director of DCAT. “Additionally, we will review currently existing literature and white papers on graduate career and professional development to identify relevant data on employer needs and alumni experiences. The consortium will work to create a shared vision for an infrastructure of services and support that will help to shape the future careers of our trainees.”

Co-investigators on the grant include Dr. Nicolas Cermakian of The Douglas Research Centre, Dr. Lorraine Chalifour of The Lady Davis Institute, and Dr. Natalie Zeytuni of the Centre de recherche en biologie structural at McGill University.

“This fantastic initiative has my most enthusiastic support,” says Dr. Rhian Touyz, executive director and chief scientific officer at the RI-MUHC. “An academic research organization like ours benefits enormously from our trainees, who are at the very heart of everything we do. It is imperative that the training provided at the RI-MUHC is of the highest quality and that it is delivered in an innovative and exciting way to inspire and prepare our researchers of the future.”

The funds received are from the FRQ-S Programme TREMPLIN (Volet 1 – étape 1), a grant program to identify research trainee needs and propose plans for support and service.

About the Desjardins Centre for Advanced Training

The Desjardins Centre for Advanced Training (DCAT) is the only program of its kind in Quebec that is situated at a health research institute. DCAT provides career and professional development training opportunities to approximately 1,200 research trainees at the RI-MUHC, connecting trainees with mentors in industry, government and academic centres, and nurturing peer communities for career planning. For more information, visit our website: rimuhc.ca