CACHET Career Development Program
The Chicago Center for Health and Environment (CACHET) offers a Career Development Program for junior EHS investigative members of CACHET. The goals of the CDP are to identify promising junior EHS investigators and accelerate their career progression as successfully funded and productive faculty members
To accomplish this, the CDP develops or enriches ongoing programs that mentor the next generation of EHS researchers and leaders and promotes training of CACHET investigators at all levels. The program uses a multi-pronged approach that includes:
- individualized mentoring programs
- PPP Young lnvestigator Awards
- EHS skills development and educational seminars/workshops geared towards junior investigators but also pertinent to members at all levels
- provide networking opportunities for EHS investigators
Mentorship Committee/Mentoring: CDP leaders will chair a Mentorship Committee that enriches existing mentoring mechanisms on UIC and UChicago campuses specifically for early stage EHS investigators. The committee is comprised of senior Center members with career development expertise. The committee ensures that a continuum of career development opportunities is available to young investigators through the CPD, including:
- EHS education
- internal/external funding opportunities
- internal grant reviewer panels
- mentorship assignments
The committee will review investigator progress in annual mentoring reports and provide feedback to mentees and mentors. The committee may make recommendations to Center Directors and Executive Committee for selection of exceptional young investigators as potential candidates for recruited.
Early-stage lnvestigator (ESl) Career Development Plans: Early-career CACHET investigators are partnered with a Senior EHS Member based on mutual research interests to guide and nurture career development. The mentor and ESI faculty member construct a detailed individual development plan (lDP) with milestones and goals to accomplish over the mentoring period. They also participate in three two-hour IDP training sessions currently used for CATS scholars in the UIC-CCTS (CTSA) program. The mentor/mentees meet at least twice per year to assess progress, revise the IDP and prepare a brief summary of activities for review bv the Mentorship Committee. ln turn, the ESls supported by CDP are expected to contribute to Center activities. Mentors are encouraged to participate in mentor training workshops held every semester by the CTSA programs on campus.
Career Enhancement Opportunities: Opportunities through the CDP to enhance career opportunities include:
- conference travel support up to $1,000/year to ESls with accepted abstracts at national/international EHS meetings
- professional editing for external grant applications
- external enrichment activities relevant to their EHS research
- visits to other institutions/labs to learn new technologies not yet available in Chicago
- attending EHS workshops/training programs designed to build skills
- promote leadership or enhance project management.
Career Development Training: The UIC-SPH Office of Research supports career development by hosting monthly grantsmanship and EHS-specific webinars. Training is available to all CACHET members on either campus, and ESls are encouraged to attend.
CACHET leverages robust CTSA programs on both campuses that host CDP-based workshops to enhance trainees and junior faculty career development. CACHET ESls pursuing translational research at UIC are also eligible for the intensive two-year CATS Scholar Program in CCTS (led by Dr. Burdette) that includes 75% protected research time and $25,000/year for scholarly activities.
New lnvestigator Funding: The Pilot Project Program (PPP) Young lnvestigator Awards support CACHET junior investigators. A major mechanism for early support on the path to independence, it prepares awardees for their first NIH grant, (K99, R21, R01, ONES).