Recent members of San Diego IRACDA Postdoctoral Fellowship Program. Photo via iracda.ucsd.edu

A postdoctoral research and career development program at UC San Diego has received a five-year, $5.9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, the university announced Thursday.

The length of the grant to the UCSD Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Award program and number of researchers who will be helped are both up from previous years.

According to UCSD, the award will provide funding for 15 young scientists. The money pays for NIH-defined stipends, health benefits and financial support for research and professional development.

“This is clear recognition by the NIH that the San Diego IRACDA program has been very successful,” said JoAnn Trejo, director of the San Diego IRACDA program. “Our mission is to increase the diversity of academic faculty by providing essential skills, experiences and tools to a diverse group of postdoctoral scholars developing their independent university research and teaching careers.”

Trejo, also a professor of pharmacology at the UC San Diego School of Medicine and associate dean for health sciences faculty affairs, said the San Diego IRACDA has trained 72 scholars in the past 13 years, roughly two-thirds from underrepresented populations and two-thirds women.

All IRACDA alumni have found jobs in science, including 65 percent in faculty positions at academic institutions, according to UCSD.

“Research universities not only propel science forward, they are the originating founts for educating, training and producing the scientists who do the work, who make the discoveries that benefit us all,” said UCSD Chancellor Pradeep Khosla.

“The San Diego IRACDA has long played a critical role, both in providing invaluable training to young scientists and in boosting academic faculty diversity moving forward,” Khosla said. “The NIH renewal is much- deserved validation of their efforts.”

— City News Service

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