University of Nebraska Medical Center

Research Scholars Program

The research scholars program provides an integrated program of education, training and career development activities.

Meet Our Scholars

The program includes:

  • Developing a career development plan.
  • Learning about grant mechanisms and grantsmanship.
  • Understanding clinical translational research principles and  key strategies.
  • Gaining opportunities for networking.
  • Providing funding for pilot studies in a supportive, interdisciplinary environment.

The Professional Development KCA builds on the strengths and history of collaborative mentor and clinical translational research education programs among the network's participating institutions to build an integrated program of education, training and career development activities.

One of the strengths of the scholar program is a separate resource: UNMC’s Mentored Scholars Program in clinical translational research. This graduate program (MS/PhD) launched in 2006 to develop faculty into successful investigators and leaders. The Mentored Scholars program focuses on developing both an interdisciplinary environment and encouraging interactions to develop a cohesive cohort. One of its signature elements is the two semester graduate CTR Scholar Leadership seminar series focused on key strategies and grantsmanship, conducted in a small group environment, incorporating opportunities to interact with multiple successful investigators.

With assigned interdisciplinary mentors, pilot grants to obtain the preliminary data, and an individualized plan for graduate coursework, this program has launched faculty into successful CTR careers and leadership positions.


The scholar is expected to devote 50% effort to the program to match salary support to be provided.

Required Didactic Materials

These include Responsible Conduct of Research; the 2-semester CTR Scholar Leadership seminar series; and any required regulatory training based on the project although most will be expected to complete human subjects training, if they have not already. The Scholar Leadership seminar series uses innovative blended learning activities and strategies, where blended learning is defined as fusing face-to-face and online learning experiences allowing increased control by the learner over content, time, place, pace, and nature of the learning activities.

This approach is a more personal, student-centered, modular, and flexible method of instruction than that provided by a face-to-face classroom-only delivery of courses. All scholars are invited to the scheduled CTR monthly seminars focused on innovative CTR methods, approaches or teams. They will be asked to watch at least eight seminars per year, in person, by webcast live or from the archived web-based recordings.

Scholar-Driven Mentored Research Project
Much of the scholar’s time will be focused on conducting a research project developed with and closely monitored by the scholar’s mentor team. The primary mentor will assure that the scholar commits 50% effort to the program. The project should be designed to obtain the strategic data needed for an extramural grant application within 3-4 years submission. 
Robust, Monitored Mentoring Team

In addition to primary mentors, other mentors will include a biostatistician or epidemiologist and a biomedical informatics expert or an IT programmer, based on the project. Using the triadic model of mentoring, the scholar, their research mentor(s), and the KCA director and operational director will meet every six months to assess the scholar’s interactions with their mentor team and whether the relationship is effective.

The mentor team will help the scholar develop a career development plan, a pilot project and final grant application, and will report any problems with the scholar’s progress to KCA leadership.

Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary Interactions

A key component of the program is the interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary interactions among scholars, mentors and other clinical translational faculty. Planned activities are built into the training program to reinforce this concept through the scholar leadership seminars, lectures and the annual scientific meeting, where scholars will also have an opportunity to interact with other COBRE scholars.

These activities are paramount to the development of successful investigators by assuring they are comfortable interacting with investigators from many different disciplines, which is important to developing a cohesive team.



  • Full-time faculty at participating institutions, with preference given to individuals at the rank of Assistant Professor (MD, PhD or equivalent).
  • Eligible to apply for NIH funds (e.g., U.S. citizen or a permanent resident).
  • Has an established focus of relevant clinical, clinical-translational, or community translational research without previous NIH R01 or equivalent funding, and is not on a currently mentored K award or a funded Center of Biomedical Research Excellence or IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence investigator. Current and former PD/PIs of an NIH Small Grant (R03), Exploratory/Developmental Grant (R21), Dissertation Award (R36), or SBIR/STTR (R41, R42, R43, R44) remain eligible


  •  Become a member of the Great Plains IDeA-CTR.
  • Devote at least 50% effort to the program.
  • Complete Responsible Conduct of Research training within six months of funding (if not already completed).
  • Remain current on all required regulatory training based on your project and institutional requirements and provide all updated approvals to the program coordinator. In addition to the reporting required for adverse events, as a courtesy, we ask that you notify the program coordinator.
  • Submit an Individual Development Plan within six months of entrance to the program.
  • Mentoring:
    • Meet with primary mentor weekly and other mentors as needed to discuss progress and concerns.
    • Meet with your full mentoring team at least every six months.
    • Meet with the scholars program leadership team twice a year, along with mentoring team.
  •  Submit an electronic progress report to the scholars program leadership twice a year.
  • Complete CTR Leadership Seminars 901 and 903, if not already completed, or completion of a comparable training.
  • Participate in a Research Studio for an external grant submission during the program. 
  • Attend the network's annual scientific meeting, where you will present your project and progress to date to the external advisory committee and meet with NIGMS program officers as requested.
  • Attend or watch a minimum of eight out of 12 monthly lectures offered annually by the network.
  • Maintain all IRB/IACUC documentation and approval status, as applicable.
  • Submit an R01, K or equivalent extramural grant application within two to three years of selection.
  • Maintain engagement with the Great Plains IDeA-CTR after graduation via regular communications. For example, this might include possible participation in future annual meetings, Research Studios, providing invited presentations or acting as a mentor.
  • Complete post-graduation evaluations and assist with post-award tracking, such as papers, promotions, grants, etc.).
  • Cite our grant in all publications and presentations as appropriate.