The proposed NIDCR Mentoring Network will complement existing diversity-targeted programs through the development of cohorts of individuals at the career transition point between postdoctoral fellow/junior faculty member and independent investigator, in order to foster success in this transition. In addition, this mentoring network is expected to result in a nationwide network of dental, oral, and craniofacial research mentors and participants that can augment individual research training and career development experiences for current participants and future cohorts.

It is anticipated that the Mentoring Network will involve both structured and unstructured activities to ensure robust and high quality mentorship and the advancement of the participants’ professional goals towards independent dental, oral, and craniofacial research careers. Mentoring activities may include: hands on training in research methodologies, facilitating scholarly/grant writing skills, leadership development, and helping to establish interdisciplinary or translational collaborations to foster team science and research career independence.

As a result of this augmented mentorship, participants are expected to achieve professional career advancement and independent research funding. For example, it is anticipated that participants will transition to subsequent career stages (e.g., to junior faculty or tenure-track positions); achieve authorship on scientific peer-reviewed publications; and successfully compete for independent research grant support from NIH/NIDCR.