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Donald Lysle, Principal Investigator
Kathryn Reissner, Co-Principal Investigator
Brian Rybarczyk, Program Director
Monica Gaudier-Diaz, Co-Program Director

It is with great excitement that we announce the funding of a five-year Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Award (IRACDA) by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS). This K12 training and career development grant will provide over $5 million dollars of funding to support postdoctoral training across the UNC Chapel Hill campus. The goal of IRACDA programs across the country is to provide postdoctoral scholars with training in research, teaching, and career development; while also promoting collaborations with partner institutions that primarily serve students who belong to groups that have historically been excluded from science.

The Seeding Postdoctoral Innovators in Research and Education (SPIRE) postdoctoral fellowship program was one of the first grantees to receive funding from the special IRACDA program, which is now part of the division of Training, Workforce Development, & Diversity under the NIGMS. Since its inception in 1999, the UNC SPIRE program has received continuous funding.

The goal of UNC SPIRE is to increase diversity in the sciences by investing in tomorrow’s scholars and educators by providing them with a holistic approach to postgraduate professional development. Accordingly, SPIRE strives to blend an outstanding research environment with broad professional development activities and hands-on teaching experiences for scientist who want to combine research with undergraduate/graduate education. The long-standing partnerships of the UNC SPIRE program with Johnson C. Smith University, North Carolina Central University, North Carolina A&T State University, and UNC Pembroke, supported by this award, facilitate the attainment of the UNC SPIRE and IRACDA goals.

SPIRE is a national model for postdoctoral training and preparation for faculty careers, in which scholars receive three years of support and career development training. To date, the SPIRE program has supported 124 postdoctoral scholars across a 23-year funding period. Among the former scholars, 97% currently hold scientific positions in academia, industry, or government. Further, our SPIRE scholars have taught 265 courses as instructors of record at our partner institutions.

More information about the UNC SPIRE program can be found here:

Applications for the 2023-24 cohort will be due February 2023.

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