The United States Bone and Joint Initiative (USBJI) and Bone and Joint Canada are dedicated to increasing research of musculoskeletal diseases. To keep pace with the high and increasing burden of these diseases, a higher level of research performed by young investigators in the musculoskeletal diseases is required, and future levels of research assured. This is particularly important given the current environment for research funding, and academic careers. In response, the Young Investigator Initiative is a grant mentoring program providing early-career investigators an opportunity to work with experienced researchers in our field to assist them in securing funding and other survival skills required for pursuing an academic career.
To date 245 participants (60%) have successfully obtained $421 million in grants for 1,492 new musculoskeletal research studies. Participants consider this program instrumental to their success. They rate highly the one-on-one mentoring with experienced researchers, the opportunity for inter-disciplinary and peer-to-peer exchange, and collaborations established during workshops.
This grant mentoring program and career development program is open to promising junior faculty, senior fellows or post-doctoral researchers nominated by their department or division chairs seeking to pursue a career in clinical or basic research. It is also open to senior fellows or residents that are doing research and have a faculty appointment in place or confirmed. Basic and clinical investigators, without or with training awards, are invited to apply. Investigators selected to take part in the program attend two workshops, 12-18 months apart, and work with faculty between workshops to develop their grant applications. The unique aspect of this program is the opportunity for attendees to maintain a relationship with a mentor until their application is funded.