In the ILH, special emphasis is given to the training, support and career development of junior scientists in lung biology and pulmonary medicine. To this end, it will liaise with pre-existent expertise at the Biomedical Research Campus of the JLU/UGMLC, within the DZL and within the Excellence Cluster Cardio-Pulmonary Institute (CPI). At the JLU, the Graduate School “Molecular Biology and Medicine of the Lung” (MBML) has been set up 16 years ago, with > 300 PhD or MD-PhD doctoral fellows trained up to date: notably, more than 70% of the alumni of this Graduate School have pursued a scientific career after terminating the program. Moreover, the MBML is closely linked to the DZL Academy and the CPI Academy. Upon establishing the Institute for Lung Health, we will install an ILH Academy and set up an ILH Career Development and Mentoring Program, the activities of which will be closely linked with JLU/UGMLC programs, the DZL Academy and the CPI Academy with the following features:
- Harmonizing the educational programs to have one overarching program at the ILH/UGMLC/CPI site in Giessen.
- Establishment of annual joint retreats
- Set-up of an exchange program, allowing to form “pairs” of students under common mentorship of an ILH scientist and scientists from other sites of the DZL or the CPI
Mutual access to (and in future common establishment of) international graduate exchange programs (e.g. French-German Lung School, DFG-funded IRTGs, as currently being filed with Imperial College London)
The different levels of career development include undergraduate outreach, a graduate program for PhD and MD-PhD education, a postdoctoral career development program with postdoctoral fellowships, start-up grants and clinical scientist tracks, as well as the independent Junior Research Groups financed by the ILH program.
- Undergraduate Outreach: In cooperation with JLU/UGMLC/CPI, scientists of the ILH will get engaged in various teaching activities, aiming to reach out to MSc students in the different biomedical disciplines and attract the most talented of them for a doctoral fellowship in lung research. Moreover, talented MD students will be attracted to translational pulmonaryresearch early in their career by providing financial support for selected individuals to perform experimental work (6-12 months) and prepare an MD thesis in a ILH/UGMLC/CPI laboratory (small stipends for such research period available via the Medical Faculty). These MD students will be integrated into a structural educational program offered by the Giessen Graduate School for the Life Sciences.
- MD and PhD Education: All doctoral researchers in the various ILH research groups will be entered into the Molecular Biology and Medicine of the Lung (MBML) graduate program, currently planned to be expanded by an IRTG branch as detailed above (BREX-IN).
- Postdoctoral Career Development Programs: In collaboration with the DZL Academy and the CPI Academy, the ILH Academy will offer refresher and advanced courses in fields relevant to lung biology and disease, encompassing both physiological/medical and basic science topics, and soft skills training units to address the fields of project management, manuscript preparation and third party fund raising. Advanced intensive courses will focus on specific areas or techniques arising from recent scientific discoveries. Training programs in management and entrepreneurship will address exploitation aspects and career options outside of academia. For individual career coaching, a mentoring system will be installed by the ILH Academy. Moreover, in addition to funds available via the budgets of the various ILH research groups, the ILH Academy will provide competitive funds for postdoctoral fellowships, aiming to attract outstanding external postdoctoral fellows (up to 2 years after MD or PhD) to the ILH, and start-up grants, aiming to foster early independence and qualification for high-class external funding. This is of particular interest for starting a Medical Scientist Career.
- Clinical Scientist Tracks: The ILH will join the Giessen Clinical Scientist Program CAREER, which was just recently successful to receive external funding from 1/2019 on. Grants in this program will cover – in addition to laboratory personnel and consumables - up to 50% of the applicant’s own position to enable periodic relief from clinical duties.