Summer program seminars

The summer program for Visiting Professors at CAPS typically offers the following seminars. The exact combination of seminars varies each year to reflect the needs of each year’s cohort.

Seminars for all Visiting Professors

Introduction and Plan

The summer program begins with an orientation session conducted by program faculty. The session is an opportunity for Visiting Professors to learn details about what to expect from the summer program and what assignments are required to be completed.

Science Chats

To start the summer program, Visiting Professors and faculty meet together to provide an opportunity for each Visiting Professor to share their research and to receive input for the work they are planning to do during the summer program. The Visiting Professors learn from each other and the faculty about innovative research methods and theories, and share expertise regarding research with racial and ethnic minority populations. These Science Chats are scheduled in the first week of the summer program.

Collaboration Lunches

Once a week, the Program provides a catered lunch and an extended time to network. Some of the lunches are provided for just the Visiting Professors, while others also include the CAPS program faculty.

Proposal Components

This seminar covers what to include – and not include – on the sections on an NIH proposal, with a special focus on the Specific Aims page.

NIH Biosketch

The seminar provides guidance in the preparation of an NIH biosketch, a document required with each grant proposal to NIH. Program faculty will present specific ways to communicate accomplishments in the field, and also how to select the most relevant awards and honors for inclusion.

Human Subjects Protection

Offered by program mentors with experience serving on the UCSF Committee on Human Research (CHR), this seminar covers issues of protecting research participants, including appropriate ways to contact participants, consent issues and language. The seminar also addresses the specific concerns that Visiting Professors may be facing in their work.

Budget Development

This seminar covers how to develop a well-justified budgeting plan and corresponding budget justification documentation for grant proposal submissions. The session covers issues such as “buying out” teaching time in order to carry out research, working with NIH/CDC project officers in the development of proposal budgets, how to conceptualize budgets and their relationship with the science, and methods for assuring that budgets incorporate all necessary items.

Intervention Planning

This seminar covers developing and implementing social and behavioral interventions, particularly as they pertain to ethnic and racial minorities. Issues examined include recruitment and retention of participants into interventions; whether to conduct individual, group or community-level approaches; the “dose” of the intervention; assignment of participants to study conditions; and avoiding intervention contamination of control group participants.

NIH Public Access Policy

Visiting Professors will gain an understanding of the rationale for the NIH Public Access Policy, what the policy covers and how to comply with the policy. The seminar also includes a discussion of how Open Access and other related developments are impacting the conduct of clinical research.

Topics in Substance Use and HIV Prevention

National expert seminar leaders present on the latest research on the intersection of substance use and HIV. The topics of seminars have included the physiological effects of substance use, adolescent development and substance use, the use of social networks for investigating injection and other drug use, and how the criminalization of substance use disproportionately impacts racial and ethnic minority communities.

Community Collaborations

Offered by the CAPS Community Engagement Core, this seminar examines the theory and process of collaborative research involving academic researchers and community partners. The seminar reviews community collaborative research being conducted by CAPS investigators and addresses ways to initiate and nurture collaborative research relationships.

Overview of NIH Reviews

This seminar is hosted by CAPS faculty who have served on NIH review panels and covers various aspects of the NIH grant submission and review process, including “dos” and “don’ts” for grant applicants.

Early Peer Review

CAPS has a tradition of internal peer review that allows its researchers to gain valuable feedback about their proposals and manuscripts prior to submission. Since Visiting Professors have a range of experience with the peer review process, a peer review is conducted early in the summer program. The subject of the peer review is typically a proposal by a current or former Visiting Professor. Peer reviewers are drawn from the CAPS faculty. All Visiting Professors are asked to review the materials ahead of time and then attend the peer review so that they can directly observe how a peer review can function within norms and practices that encourage constructive criticism.

Peer Review

In the last two weeks of the program, Visiting Professors submit their summer’s work (typically, a draft of an NIH research proposal) for a peer review. During the peer review, each Visiting Professor’s summer product is formally reviewed in a one-hour group session by one of the program mentors, a researcher with relevant expertise from outside the Visiting Professor Program, and a Visiting Professor. Typically, all mentors and Visiting Professors attend all peer reviews. The formal component of each peer review session lasts about 30 minutes, with each peer reviewer offering seven minutes of commentary on the review product. Reviewers also supply written comments to the Visiting Professor whose work is being reviewed. The remaining 30 minutes is used for discussion and for others in attendance to provide additional comments. The discussions among Visiting Professors and mentors during the review are invaluable for refining the Visiting Professors’ proposals.

Evaluation Session

On the last day of the summer program, an Evaluation Session is held during which there is a structured discussion about how various program elements have been more or less helpful in realizing the program goals and objectives. The session frequently results in feedback that is used to adjust the program in future years. The session also compliments an anonymous, written evaluation survey that is sent after the summer program is complete.

First Year Seminars

UCSF Subcontract Process

The seminar provides an explanation of the requirements for the subcontract for the Applied Research Experience while introducing the UCSF staff who are instrumental in the implementation of a subcontract agreement.

Writing Human Subjects and Inclusion Sections

Offered by program mentors with experience serving on the UCSF Committee on Human Research (CHR), this seminar discusses approaches to cover the areas of the study relevant to the Human Subjects section of the grant, as well as the grant sections on Inclusion of Women and Minorities and Inclusion of Children. 

Second and Third Year Seminars

Research Planning

These weekly two-hour seminars allow scientists analyzing formative data and preparing a grant proposal to receive input from mentors and other participants on how to interpret pilot data and integrate analysis results into a grant proposal. These sessions also provide assistance in other areas of grant writing. Different pairs of mentors co-lead these seminars each week so that Visiting Professors receive exposure to different disciplinary perspectives and expertise.

Other Seminars

Individual Consults

In addition to the formal activities described above, an important facet of the program is informal one-on-one or small group consultations between UCSF faculty mentors and Visiting Professors and between Visiting Professors.

Additional seminars

Additional seminars are offered to participating Visiting Professors as the need arises. Examples include funding opportunities at NIH and CDC and advanced qualitative and quantitative research methods. Visiting Professors also have the opportunity to attend trainings and seminars that are part of the wider CAPS and UCSF community, such as the CAPS Town Halls and Department of Medicine Grand Rounds.