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Nature featured research spearheaded by Patrick Brandt, PhD, and Beka Layton, PhD, at the UNC School of Medicine Office of Graduate Education, and Patrick Brennwald, PhD, in the UNC Department of Cell Biology and Physiology.

Excerpt from Nature Index:

“A ‘persistent and understandable’ concern among supervisors that career and professional development activities for PhD students detract from their dissertation research appears unfounded, according to a new study. In fact, in some cases, these activities could lead to faster degree completion and higher research output.

PLOS Biology paper has looked at outcomes for 1,742 doctoral students in biomedical sciences at 10 leading research universities in the United States.

Overall, the authors found no difference in manuscript output or the time taken to complete a PhD between doctoral students who participated in programs focused on their career options and those who did not.

‘We hope our study will change the outlook of supervisors and trainees who are resistant to the idea of professional development,’ says Patrick Brandt, lead author of the paper, and director of career development and training at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine.

‘If there is more support for trainees to participate in professional development, we can prepare our research trainees for more meaningful scientific careers, inside and outside academia.’ Such training is ‘especially relevant in light of pandemic-centered disruption to the job market and accompanying economic turmoil,’ the paper notes.”

Read the entire Nature article here, which also includes reference to a new preprint paper, for which Beka Layton, PhD, director of professional development programs, is a co-author. The original PLOS Biology article was featured at the UNC School of Medicine Newsroom.