Purpose: To describe the experiences of recipients of the Burroughs Wellcome Fund's Career Awards in the Biomedical Sciences Program (CABS) and highlight selected outcomes of the award's first set of graduates.
Method: Since 1999, all active CABS recipients have been surveyed with the goal of assessing the program's implementation and the career progress of award recipients. Data were collected on multiple variables that are indicative of establishing an independent research career (e.g., time spent on research, external grant support, and scholarly publications), along with the views of individuals about the program and how the award had affected their careers.
Results: As evidenced by current employment and research funding, 77% of 1995-1999 grantees had been successful in securing tenure-track faculty positions in research-intensive institutions. Of those with faculty appointments, 78% had built research programs that attracted external support. In addition, 95% credited the award with facilitating their searches for faculty jobs, 70% believed that it had shortened the time required to obtain such positions, and 82% cited the award as enhancing their ability to attract research funds. They also perceived the award as allowing them to pursue research ideas that might have been considered as risky or premature by more traditional research sponsors.
Conclusion: The CABS program has helped participants to launch careers as active and independent investigators. Grantees also credit it with allowing them to pursue research ideas that might otherwise have been considered impractical to support.