The objective of the Research Education Core (REC) is to identify highly promising early-stage investigators and to provide support promoting their development as independent investigators and leaders in aging research. The REC provides three groups of investigators, designated as Pepper Scholars, Small REC Awardees, and REC Affiliates, with the knowledge and skills to conduct biological, translational, and clinical studies of multifactorial geriatric conditions and to obtain subsequent funding from a broad range of sources. The outcomes and career advancement goals for Pepper Scholars include: 1) publication of research results in high-impact journals; 2) success in obtaining independent funding, both to support further career development (e.g. K08 and K23 awards) and to support specific projects (e.g. R21 and R01 awards); and 3) development of leadership skills necessary to manage research teams and to become successful mentors themselves.
The specific goals of the core are to:
- identify highly promising, early-stage investigators with a strong interest in aging research and facilitate the development of a research program devoted to the study of multifactorial geriatric conditions across the translational spectrum;
- promote the development of these individuals as independent investigators through the provision of salary, project, infrastructure/technical, and other career development support commensurate with their stage of training as Pepper Scholars, Small REC Awardees, and REC Affiliates;
- supply Pepper Scholars with financial support to ensure protected time and priority access to the Resource Cores' expertise and services for the design, conduct, and analysis of studies addressing multifactorial geriatric conditions;
- provide Small REC Awardees with more modest funds to develop their potential as future Pepper Scholar applicants;
- extend mentorship in aging to all REC investigators selected from disciplines outside of geriatrics;
- provide didactic training, participation in aging workshops and seminars, and career development activities to all REC investigators;
- support all REC investigators in the development of applications for independent funding;
- identify and support a diverse cohort of REC investigators, including individuals from under-represented groups and those with disabilities.