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Research Experience

The heart of CCEP is the fellow's "hands-on" mentored research experience.

Purpose

Under the direction of a primary mentor and a mentoring team, each fellow develops and conducts cancer prevention and control research. For predoctoral fellows, the major research project is the dissertation. These fellows also participate in other research projects as well. For postdoctoral fellows, projects may be independently developed parts of a mentor's ongoing research program and/or a new projects developed by the fellow. The research reinforces and applies training from the core curriculum and demonstrates fellows' mastery of a content area, collaborative capabilities, and competency in research methods. The research experience also provides opportunity to develop and demonstrate important research skills: grant writing, abstract and presentation preparation, and scientific writing.

Outcomes and Expectations

The primary outcome is for fellows to leave the Program and develop careers in multidisciplinary and collaborative cancer prevention and control research. Postdoctoral fellows should “graduate” to research/teaching/service positions. Predoctoral fellows should complete dissertations in cancer prevention and control and “graduate” to appropriate postdoctoral positions or research/teaching/service positions. In support of these primary outcomes, by the end of their training all fellows are expected to have:

  • Completed the core curriculum, including additional coursework requirements established by the Training Advisory Committee and the mentor team. Physician and nurse postdoctoral fellows entering without masters-level training should have obtained or be well-advanced in obtaining an advanced degree (MPH, PhD, or DrPH).
  • Completed or be well-advanced in the mentored research experience, including meeting the grant writing requirement. Fellows should have: presented research at a scientific meeting; begun publishing research; and submitted proposals for funding. Depending on their point of entry into the Program, predoctoral fellows should have completed or be nearing completion of a doctoral dissertation. Predoctoral fellows should have begun the process of publishing research and begun developing funding proposals for funding.

Specific Postdoctoral Research Expectations

For postdoctoral fellows, the mentored research experience begins at entry and lasts throughout the fellowship. Fellows participate in each of three major required activities:

  • Research Projects Under the guidance of the mentoring team, fellows design and conduct one or more independent projects. In these projects, fellows address aspects of research from the research question and design to the protocol, methods, instruments, data collection, data management, analysis, and report. Involvement of collaborating experts is expected.
  • Grant Writing By the end of their third or last year, postdoctoral fellows write an extramural grant proposal (R21 equivalent) for a mock grant review. Although fellows have access to program funds to support their research, the CCEP encourages submission of proposals to obtain intramural and/or extramural funding.
  • Professional Activities Fellows present findings at local, regional, and national scientific meetings, as well as submit results for publication in peer-reviewed journals. Mentors are encouraged to offer fellows appropriate participation in review activities (e.g., joint review of manuscripts for peer-reviewed journals).