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Evaluation of the Markey Scholars Program 1 Introduction CHARGE TO THE COMMITTEE During an interval of 15 years, the Lucille P. Markey Charitable Trust1 spent more than $500 million on three grant programs in the basic biomedical sciences that supported the education and research of graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, junior faculty, and senior researchers. In response to a request from the Markey Trust, the National Research Council (NRC) appointed a study committee to conduct an evaluation of the Trust’s grant programs in which it would address two general questions: (1) Were these funds well spent, and (2) What can others in the biomedical and philanthropic communities learn from the programs of the Markey Trust. To accomplish these goals, the committee2 overseeing the project: examined the General Organizational Grants, intended to catalyze new ways to train Ph.D. and M.D. students in translational research; convened a conference of Markey Scholars and Visiting Fellows in 2002; 1 The Lucille P. Markey Charitable Trust is the institution’s official name. In this report it will be referred to as the “Markey Trust” or the “Trust.” 2 The Committee for the Evaluation of the Lucille P. Markey Charitable Trust Programs in Biomedical Sciences is the official name of the NRC study committee that will assess the Markey Trust’s activities. Hereafter it will be referred to as the committee or the Markey committee.
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Evaluation of the Markey Scholars Program assessed the Research Programs Grants, which provided funding to institutions to support the work of senior investigators; conducted a workshop to investigate methods used to evaluate funding of biomedical sciences by philanthropic donors; and evaluated the program for Markey Scholars and Visiting Fellows, which supported young biomedical investigators in their early careers. This report presents the findings and conclusions of the evaluation of the Markey Scholars and Visiting fellows programs. MARKEY GRANT PROGRAMS The Markey Trust established three programs to support basic training, the development of young faculty, and research by experienced scientists in the biomedical sciences: (1) General Organizational Grants, (2) Research Program Grants; and (3) Markey Scholars and Visiting Fellows Awards. In addition, the Trust awarded several grants that did not fall neatly into one of these categories. For purposes of this evaluation purposes, however, these were assigned to one or another of the programs. A detailed description of all Markey grant programs is included in Appendix C. General Organizational Grants The growth of a gap between the results of biomedical research and their clinical application was recognized by Markey trustees as a critical issue in the late 1980s. Consequently, the Markey Trust funded awards to provide training in translational research to diminish this gap, including: (1) programs that provided significant opportunities for M.D.s to engage in basic research during and immediately following medical school and residency, and (2) programs that provided significant clinical exposure for Ph.D.s while they were predoctoral or postdoctoral students. General Organizational Grant programs were funded for approximately five years and were not renewable. Research Program Grants The Trust established Research Program Grants to enable established investigators to address important issues in the biomedical sciences by developing new approaches or expanding continuing approaches to the study of basic biomedical research questions—in short, providing flexible dollars for innovation and growth. In some instances, the awards permitted the development of new programs or the complete reorganization of
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Evaluation of the Markey Scholars Program existing programs. In other cases, the awards enhanced existing programs and research endeavors. Markey Scholars and Visiting Fellows Awards The Trust also adopted several mechanisms to fund selected scholars early in their careers. The two most important were (1) the Markey Scholar Awards in Biomedical Sciences through which a total of 113 Markey Scholars were supported for up to three years of postdoctoral training followed by five years of support as a junior faculty member with both salary and research funding provided, and (2) the United Kingdom and Australian Visiting Fellows Awards, which funded outstanding young scientists from the United Kingdom and Australia as postdoctoral fellows at American research institutions for two years.
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