Early Career Advancement Program

Banner image for ECAP webpage

OHSU's faculty are some of the most promising early career researchers and physician scientists in the world. Our faculty enter academia with the skills and the expertise to make significant contributions to science, health care, and OHSU's intellectual community. However, success as a researcher and success as a faculty member require multiple skill sets that are not traditionally taught. As a result, faculty members face a steep learning curve as they navigate the competitive business of doing science.

The Early Career Advancement Program (ECAP) provides hands-on interactive workshops aimed at helping early career faculty succeed. Participation in ECAP accelerates development of key competencies essential to the management of research portfolios, research teams, successful grant writing, and effective leadership. We help early career faculty build experienced mentoring committees, provide step-by-step guidance on how to navigate the promotion & tenure process at OHSU, and develop techniques for time, team, and goal management that are tailored to faculty who focus on basic, translational, and/or clinical scholarship.

Interested in joining an ECAP workshop?

Eligible faculty are welcome to apply to the program at anytime.

Find eligibility and application requirements below, and use this link to apply.

Program structure

ECAP aims to benefit both participating early career research faculty and the broader OHSU intellectual community. In their first year of participation, ECAP faculty develop the skills they need to advance their scientific careers, write competitive grants, build strong teams, and more. During their second year of training, ECAP faculty have the opportunity to continue to build their leadership skills by contributing directly to workshop content and providing peer-to-peer support to ECAP participants.  

Primary ECAP Objectives

  • Increase career satisfaction and retention of promising scientific minds.
  • Enhance inter-laboratory collaboration and communication.
  • Improve the competitiveness of funding proposals submitted by OHSU faculty.

ECAP graduates show a strong history of growth and success. Many faculty see an uptick in published papers and funded national-level grants after participating in ECAP.

Any early to mid-career research faculty member within the School of Medicine is eligible to apply to participate in the ECAP. While NIH defines early career as a faculty member who has not yet secured funding for an R01-level grant, we encouraged participation of early career faculty at all stages, including non-tenure track Research Assistant Professors. Further, many faculty with previous R01-level funding participate as well.

How to apply

ECAP maintains an open, rolling enrollment, so early career faculty may apply at any time. To apply, please complete our application form. A letter of support from your department or division head is required for participation.

Letter of support requirements

The candidate's department or division head provides a letter of support explicitly stating the candidate's eligibility and the department's commitment to the candidate for the following items:

  • Candidate has a significant research component as part of their duties;
  • Candidate is on an independent PI or equivalent trajectory;
  • Candidate has protected time for research and to attend ECAP workshops;
  • Candidate is allocated resources for lab and research.

Letter of support example

Every year, workshop topics are selected based on areas of interest identified by ECAP members and the ECAP Steering Committee. Faculty who complete the program are also invited to participate again as mentors, trainers, and workshop leaders. This second tier of training is referred to as “Train the Trainer”, or Module 2 of ECAP training.

The four guiding principles of ECAP

Generally, ECAP's curriculum is built around four guiding principles, which are:

1: Leadership Development

  • Workshop Examples: Establishing Workplace Culture; Effective Communication; Personnel Management and Team Building; Conflict Resolution

2: The Business of Science

  • Workshop Examples: Grant Writing with focus on development of specific aims; Promotion & Tenure; Financial management; Time, Task, and Self-management

3: Mentoring

  • Workshop Examples: Establishing a mentoring committee that supports you; Managing the PhD journey as a mentor

4: Sponsorship

  • Workshop Examples: Owning Your Research and Tech Transfer; Team Science and Collaboration

Workshop structure

Schedule for 2023-24 Early Career Advancement Program
Workshops scheduled for 2023-24 academic year. Click image to view as a PDF.

Far from being a lecture series, ECAP aims to deliver interactive workshops. Guest speakers and hands-on workshops provide participants with practical experience and real-time feedback from peers and experts. In person attendance is encouraged and lunch provided.

Workshops are designed to be small and interactive in order to meet the needs of individual faculty and help establish community. Faculty need not worry that they will be subjected to didactic lectures or generic career advice. Faculty can expect workshops to be fast-paced with high content value and full of experience-based learning. 

The level of participation is entirely up to you. All ECAP workshops are voluntary. So pick and choose workshops aligned with your goals and needs. Outside of formal group workshops (6 annually, each 90 minutes), faculty are encouraged to meet with their mentors 1-2 times per year to allow for goal setting, finance and budget review, and progress evaluation.

Upon completion of ECAP Module 1, which equals approximately 9 hours of workshop participation, faculty are awarded a certificate of accomplishment from the Dean of the School of Medicine.

At that point, the faculty member advances to a 'Train the Trainer' model, whereby the faculty member contributes to the next generation of workshop content while advancing their own leadership training. Completion of an additional 10 hours at this level of leadership training satisfies the requirements for the ECAP Module 2 certificate of accomplishment.

These accomplishments reflect well in early career faculty P&T dossiers, grant submissions, and more.

Program history

ECAP started as a series of workshops and meetings coordinated by leadership in the Cell, Developmental & Cancer Biology (CDCB) department in 2014, known then as the Junior Faculty Advancement Program (JFAP). In 2016, the program encompassed faculty in the Knight Cancer Institute and in 2018 was broadened to include all early career faculty within the School of Medicine. The program currently serves over 150 faculty across 30 departments at OHSU.

ECAP is recognized as a powerful tool to help early career faculty develop essential skills, as exemplified by the following:

  • Recognized as an outstanding faculty support program in the 2016 Knight Cancer Institute Cancer Center Support Grant Competitive Renewal & CCSG Site Visit.
  • Reviewed in 2017 by the Dean's Committee on Faculty Advancement and served as a basis for university-wide faculty development programs.
  • Received first place award at the 2018 OHSU Education Symposium for its poster, titled "Paying It Forward: A Unique Approach to Junior Faculty Professional Development in the Basic Sciences."
  • Awarded the 2019 OHSU Official Continuing Professional Development Scientific Mentoring & Development Award.
  • 2022 Symposium on Educational Excellence Poster Award for, "Protecting the future of academic discovery: A pro-active approach to Early Career faculty development in the basic sciences"

Program directors

Pepper Schedin, Ph.D.
Leonard Schnitzer Chair in Breast Oncology
Professor, Department of Cell, Developmental & Cancer Biology

Christina Lancioni, M.D.
Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Infectious Diseases

Steering committee members

Ramon Barajas, M.D.
Associate Professor of Diagnostic Radiology

Jonathan Brody, Ph.D.
Associate Director of Translational Research at Brenden-Colson Pancreatic Center for Patient Care, Professor of Cell, Developmental & Cancer Biology 

Andrea Cedfeldt, M.D.
Associate Dean for Faculty Development, School of Medicine, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics

Summer Gibbs, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Mary Heinricher, Ph.D.
Associate Dean for Basic Research, Office of the Dean, School of Medicine, Professor of Neurological Surgery

Anna Wilson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Pediatrics, School of Medicine

Missy Wong, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Cell, Developmental and Cancer Biology

Emeritus committee members

Marc Freeman, Ph.D.
Director and Senior Scientist, Vollum Institute


Andrew Adey, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Molecular and Medical Genetics

Susan Ingram, Ph.D.
Richard J. Traystman, Ph.D., Endowed Chair in Anesthesiology
2019 – 2021

Joshi Alumkal, M.D.
Hematology & Medical Oncology
2016 – 2019

Lisa Coussens, Ph.D.
Endowed Chair, Department of Cell, Developmental and Cancer Biology


For general inquiries |earlycareeradvprgm@ohsu.edu

Program support: Kacy Kesecker | kesecker@ohsu.edu