How well does early-career investigators’ cardiovascular outcomes research training align with funded outcomes research?

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Abstract

Background

Outcomes research training programs should prepare trainees to successfully compete for research funding. We examined how early-career investigators’ prior and desired training aligns with recently funded cardiovascular (CV) outcomes research.

Methods

We (1) reviewed literature to identify 13 core competency areas in CV outcomes research; (2) surveyed early-career investigators to understand their prior and desired training in each competency area; (3) examined recently funded grants commonly pursued by early-career outcomes researchers to ascertain available funding in competency areas; and (4) analyzed alignment between investigator training and funded research in each competency area. We evaluated 185 survey responses from early-career investigators (response rate 28%) and 521 funded grants from 2010 to 2014.

Results

Respondents’ prior training aligned with funded grants in the areas of clinical epidemiology, observational research, randomized controlled trials, and implementation/dissemination research. Funding in community-engaged research and health informatics was more common than prior training in these areas. Respondents’ prior training in biostatistics and systematic review was more common than funded grants focusing on these specific areas. Respondents’ desired training aligned similarly with funded grants, with some exceptions; for example, desired training in health economics/cost-effectiveness research was more common than funded grants in these areas. Restricting to CV grants (n = 132) and National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute–funded grants (n = 170) produced similar results.

Conclusions

Identifying mismatch between funded grants in outcomes research and early-career investigators’ prior/desired training may help efforts to harmonize investigator interests, training, and funding. Our findings suggest a need for further consideration of how to best prepare early-career investigators for funding success.

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