AADOCR Mentoring an Inclusive Network for a Diverse Workforce of the Future (AADOCR MIND the Future)

Frequently Asked Questions

The American Association for Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Research (AADOCR) has been awarded a five-year grant by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) in response to FOA RFA-DE-19-007: NIDCR Mentoring Network to Support a Diverse Dental, Oral and Craniofacial Research Workforce. The NIH recognizes a unique and compelling need to promote diversity in the NIH funded biomedical, behavioral, clinical and social sciences workforce.

AADOCR MIND the Future will build a vibrant and inclusive community of investigators whose participation is vital to advancing dental, oral and craniofacial research and improving the oral health of our nation. The primary goal of this NIDCR-funded program is to establish a mentoring network that will support a diverse pool of early career investigators, including individuals from diverse backgrounds (e.g., see Notice of NIH’s Interest in Diversity), in developing independent research careers dedicated to improving dental, oral and craniofacial health. 

Ten program participants/mentees will be selected annually and commit to at least one full year of mentoring education/activities. Twelve months will be devoted to enhancing research career development through intensive hands-on work, combining in-person sessions (after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted) with distance-learning components, and engaging in a mentored grant writing experience.  Mentees will also be invited and strongly encouraged to remain engaged with the program post 12 months to foster peer mentoring and to support further career development based on individual needs and preferences.


Participants must have a research (e.g., PhD or equivalent) and/or health-professional doctoral degree (e.g., DDS/DMD) or equivalent. The candidates must have postdoctoral research experience and be committed to developing into independent investigators in research areas relevant to the mission of the NIDCR. Candidates may be in postdoctoral or junior faculty positions (e.g., Assistant Professor). Tenured faculty are not eligible for the program.

Examples of eligible participants include:

  • Applicants from groups identified as nationally underrepresented in the biomedical, clinical, behavioral and social sciences will be solicited and encouraged. These groups include individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities, and individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds per the Notice of NIH’s Interest in Diversity.
  • Eligible participants include postdoctoral scientists and early career faculty currently or previously supported by NIH research training awards (e.g., F32, T32, T90, R90), career development awards (e.g., K01, K08, K22, K23, K25, K99/R00, KL2), NIH small grants (R03), individuals supported by NIH research supplements to promote diversity, and individuals supported by equivalent programs funded by other agencies, foundations, or organizations.
  • Participants are expected to be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Non-U.S. citizens may participate with strong justification (e.g., K99 non-U.S. citizen awardees, NIDCR R90 participants)


  • Early career faculty/investigators (postdoctoral or junior faculty) in academic and research institutions who wish to advance their careers in dental, oral and craniofacial health research.
  • Willingness and ability to commit to at least one year of programmed activities and travel related to AADOCR MIND the Future mentoring network program.


  • a letter of support from an institutional official, such as a dean or department chair who can commit time and resources for the mentee to participate in the AADOCR Mentoring network program. The letter should describe the institution’s commitment of financial resources to help defray costs of the mentee’s participation in the program and commitment to providing protected time for the mentee to participate in the mentoring network program activities, including travel to and attendance at the AADOCR Annual Meeting. Note: It is estimated that  mentees will spend 50-60 hours in synchronous programming; 30-40 hours in asynchronous programming over the 12 months of the program; and will travel to the AAOCDR Annual Meeting and to a  Mock NIH Study Section workshop]

  • a personal statement, which provides a description  of the applicant’s short-term and long-term research career goals and interests. Summarize the applicant’s research background and describe how participation as a mentee in the AADOCR Mentoring Network will affect future research career goals and activities.  Describe the applicant’s commitment to diversity in the biomedical sciences, any involvement in leadership, mentoring and outreach activities to enhance diversity – especially involving groups underrepresented in biomedical research as described in the NIH  Notice of Interest in Diversity, reasons to be considered for participation in the program , and how participation in the program will promote inclusive and equitable scientific biomedical research environments . [4-6 pages].

  • the candidate’s NIH style biosketch using NIH format.

During the online application process, applicants will be asked to provide answers to questions that will be used to identify applicants based on gender, race and/or ethnicity per NOT-OD-20-031. It will also be used to provide statistical information on the participation of individuals from the indicated racial/ethnic groups. This information is confidential and is only accessible by the PI team, management and advisory committees and administrator.

Evaluation and Selection

Candidates will be evaluated on the basis of the candidate’s biosketch, projected career plan and support from their institution. Specific criteria for evaluation include 1) academic credentials; 2) projected career plan and research interests; 3) commitment to research career and academic promise; 4) stated commitment to a full year of educational programming.

In order to select the participating mentees, the AADOCR MIND the Future Management Committee will review the applications for eligibility and criteria, and score each application, using a scale of 1-5 utilizing the scoring matrix: 1) Exceptional; 2) Exceeds Standards; 3) Satisfactory/Meets Standards; 4) Minimally Meets Standards; and 5) Poor/Does Not Meet Standards. This is the current tested scoring matrix used by AADOCR in evaluating abstract submissions and grants, awards and fellowships. For the final selection of the program participants, the advisory committee will conduct at least two conference calls to discuss each applicant based on their merits and application materials. The Management and Advisory Committees conduct a holistic review that takes into consideration the  “whole” applicant, rather than solely focusing on any one criterion.

Award Policies and Conditions

AADOCR shall be responsible for establishing and enforcing all rules and regulations concerning the granting of Award and complying with all applicable laws, rules and regulations. 

Successful applicants/institutions will be required to sign a Letter of Agreement and Acceptance concerning the conditions and policies under which the grant is awarded prior to receipt of the Award.


The 10 selected mentees will receive travel costs of up to $2,500 to travel to the AADOCR Annual Meeting, as well as pre-paid meeting registration, pre-paid registration to the Faculty Development Workshop and the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science full day Workshop in Science Communication. Mentees will also receive up to $2,500 for travel to the NIH for a mock NIH Study Section. Award includes all necessary training materials and access to virtual online educational sessions. Alumni mentees, after the first year of their program, will receive prepaid AADOCR Annual Meeting Registration for the following year.


Sheri S. Herren, Assistant Director of Strategic Programs at sherren@aadocr.org.