Leading Emerging and Diverse Scientists to Success (LEADS)

Program Details

Learn more about the LEADS Program, including eligibility requirements and details about the career coaching and travel awards.



If you are an early career post-doctoral fellow or junior faculty enrolled at one of the participating MSIs, we encourage you to apply. Since trainees Scholars are expected to submit an NIH grant in the second year of their fellowship, we encourage all applicants to contact the member of the leadership team from their institution to discuss the requirements of this program.

Please note, postdoctoral fellows and early-career faculty at any of the institutions across the RCMI network can also submit an application. Potential applicants are encouraged to contact one of the members of the leadership team to discuss their eligibility prior to applying.

The Leadership Team members (senior faculty from MSIs and University of Pittsburgh) serve as career coaches and are trained by certified career coaches to establish the necessary skills and tools to fulfill this role. Career coaches meet regularly with the trainees to ensure their progress is on track, guide them on next steps, and work with them on their career timeline with the use of a Customized Career Development Plan (CCDP).

Research shows that those who do career planning are more likely to succeed in their field. The Customized Career Development Plan (CCDP) is an innovative online tool designed to help each trainee identify goals, recognize needed competencies, and develop strategies to meet these goals. Each CCDP is reviewed regularly by the trainee’s mentoring team and career coach in order to track the trainee’s progress and provide individualized advice and support. We expect scholars to continue to complete their CCDP annually (even beyond their participation in the LEADS program) to accelerate their careers and facilitate their research projects. Completion of the CCDP is an NIH requirement for all LEADS Scholars.

Currently enrolled LEADS Scholars may access their CCDP through the ICRE Training Portal. The CCDP is designed to be modified by scholars as needed while goals and objectives are being tracked.
Areas of assessment within the CCDP include the following:

  • General Information
  • Research Activities
  • Training
  • Grant Submissions
  • Publication Plans
  • Presentations & Abstracts
  • Professional Development

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