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The INSPIRE fellowship is designed to be flexible and individualized, allowing scholars to tailor training to their content and research field needs. The main objective of the program is to provide in-depth and rigorous training in all aspects of translational research. 

The foundation of the INSPIRE Program rests on five components:

  • Mentored research

    • INSPIRE's apprenticeship style of training is uniquely effective at launching an early career in research. Hands-on experience in an active research project is an important developmental activity and in terms of time, this will be the primary activity of the INSPIRE trainee. 
    • Approved applicants are invited to meet with a number of our INSPIRE mentors prior to selecting one. These meetings can be held during campus visit or over Zoom.
    • Paired with an approved mentor, the trainees’ premier responsibility will be to develop and pursue a well-designed, impactful research project, with oversight from their mentor. 
  • Participation in the INSPIRE Seminar

    • This weekly meeting is open to INSPIRE members only and gives fellows the chance to interact with other trainees, program administrators, mentors, and leaders in the field. 
    • Each first-year postdoc presents twice per academic year. The first presentation is a project proposal and the second presentation is a project update.
    • Each second-year postdoc presents twice per academic pear, The first presentation is a job chalk talk and the second talk is a conference worthy presentation.
    • Each postdoc invites a neuroscience leader in the postdoc's area of research to present at one of the INSPIRE Seminars. The inviting postdoc acts as the guest speaker's host, thus allowing the INSPIRE postdoc to network with these leaders .
    • The remaining seminar sessions are devoted to I-Write, a collaborative writing workshop for INSPIRE postdocs. Any type of neuroscience writing can be submitted for peer review and feedback, including grant applications, manuscripts, abstracts, CVs, and personal statements.
  • Workshops and Didactics

    • All first-year INSPIRE fellows attend the following workshops:
      • A two-day workshop entitled Writing Winning Grant Proposals. The workshop comprehensively addresses both practical and conceptual aspects that are important to writing competitive grant proposals. It is targeted specifically to faculty and postdocs. Topics include: understanding funding priorities, grantsmanship skills, and the review process.
      • The Postdoc Academy prepares fellows in the core competencies identified by the National Postdoctoral Association (Finding Success as a Postdoc, Building an Actionable Career Plan, Working Effectively in an Intercultural Environment, Developing Resilience). Fellows engage in 2–4 hours of online training each week for 6 weeks. (Led by Michigan State, Northwestern, Boston University, and Wisconsin; funded by the NIH.).
      • Principles of Scholarly Integrity is a series of courses that provides training specific to different scholar levels. INSPIRE fellows participate in an introductory 4-hour workshop and eight 90-minute topical workshops over four semesters. Workshops use didactic presentations and small group discussions to cover key areas (e.g., data sharing, conflict of interest, research misconduct, human subjects issues).
    • In addition, the following optional workshops and courses are available to both first- and second-year INSPIRE fellows.
      • Python for Data Analysis: Python Fundamentals Workshop, a three-session workshop focusing on the basic concepts and features of Python that serve as building blocks for data analysis tasks. This workshop is offered annually by the Carver College of Medicine.
      • Python for Data Analysis: Introduction to Pandas Workshop, a three-session workshop introducing the basic functionality of pandas, a library that provides data structures and data analysis tools for Python. This workshop is offered annually by the Carver College of Medicine.
      • Python for Data Analysis: Machine Learning with Python, a three-session workshop that introduces the practical applications of machine learning, primarily using the Python package scikit-learn. This workshop is offered annually by the Carver College of Medicine.
      • Introduction to Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning, an introductory course covering data science, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and data driven problem solving. This course is offered every semester by the UI College of Engineering.
      • Computational Psychiatry Collaborative’s monthly Hacky Hour at which any scientist of any background is invited to “enhance your computational toolbox or share some coding frustrations.”
      • Computation Psychiatry Collaborative monthly meeting to discuss applying computing to mental health research.
    • Any course in the UI Course Catalog relevant to the INSPIRE postdoc's research is available to each participant. The INSPIRE program will pay the associated tuition.
  • Career development activities

    The following, optional, career development courses are available to INSPIRE postdocs. These courses are part of the Master of Science in Translational Biomedicine program, and if taken, could also apply to degree completion.
    • TBM:5002 TBM Critical Thinking and Communication: Study Design and Commercialization. Students learn about various study design methodologies and the process of commercialization. Students will also present their current projects.
    • TBM:5003 TBM Critical Thinking and Communication: Scientific Writing and Presentation Strategies. This course takes scholars through the grant development process, journal writing process, and the process for developing effective scientific presentations.
    • TBM:5004 TBM Critical Thinking and Communication: Career Development and the Funding Process. The course is designed to build scientific management skills including and understanding of the university structure and tenure; lab leadership; staffing; time management; project management; and getting funded.
    • TBM:5005 TBM Critical Thinking and Communication: Leadership, Teamwork, and Mentoring. Leadership skills for managing and developing a research team; leading and organizing a team; managing and sharing resources with other faculty and fellows; finding, hiring, and keeping good people; leading productive meetings; delegation strategies; resources and tools for mentors; information on applying and teaching leadership skills to mentees.​
  • Degree programs (optional)

    If an additional degree or certificate will add skills for a postdoc, the INSPIRE program will provide tuition. Below is a list of some of the programs previous INSPIRE postdocs have completed: