Date of this Version
Behav Anal (Wash D C). 2016 November ; 16(4): 210–214.
In several laboratory meetings, we discussed the challenges that face trainees in behavioral pharmacology. Major concerns, such as a difficult funding climate and limited academic job prospects were discussed at first. However, we decided to concentrate on ways to meet these challenges; versus focusing on negatives and listing gripes. Within this more constructive framework, we identified the importance of broadening training to aligned areas to enhance the capacity of behavioral pharmacologists to collaborate in multidisciplinary teams. With increased breadth of training comes the concern for a balance that does not cheat trainees out of the depth of training also needed for success. We believe that behavioral pharmacologists trained in this manner will be ideally positioned to be leaders of these translational research teams. Related to the breadth and depth of training is the recent concerns over replicability and reproducibility of published research. Behavioral pharmacologists, with the rigors of training in behavioral analysis and experimental design, can be at the forefront of this conversation. This will be especially true if current training is reinforced with additional experience in the use of cutting-edge statistical tools that address the complex experimental designs and large data sets that emerge from modern multidisciplinary collaborations. Finally, communicating the import and potential societal impact of our research to legislators, other scientists, educators, school children, neighbors, and acquaintances is needed to ensure that our field thrives. In closing, the process of explicitly discussing the challenges and potential solutions with current trainees will enhance their mentoring and training.