The Howard Hughes Medical Institute has announced the launch of a $120 million effort to support scientists with a background in medicine.
With a first cohort to be announced in 2021, the Medically Trained Scientists program will offer up to eight years of support for as many as ten-early career scientists who are committed to conducting basic research, with priority given to those who choose research involving minimal clinical activity. MTS Fellows will be invited to join the HHMI community, attend annual scientific meetings at the institute, and receive career development opportunities. To that end, fellowship support will begin with mentored postdoctoral training and transition through fellows' early years as independent faculty members.
According to HHMI vice president and chief scientific officer David Clapham, basic research provides insight into the building blocks and underlying mechanisms of life and can open windows into the most difficult problems in biology, including how to prevent and treat disease. Despite the value of medical training to basic research, the number of medically trained scientists is projected to decline over the coming years, a 2014 report from the National Institutes of Health argues.
Clapham said he envisions at least four cohorts of MTS fellows over the next eight years, with graduates of the program eventually providing valuable insights that lead to discoveries benefiting human health. "We're looking for people who are intellectually honest, inventive, and creative," said Clapham. "They want to make a difference. They want to do something that changes the world."