The Institutional Training Grant (ITG) Program is a NIDA funded program to provide training to predoctoral and postdoctoral fellows. The grant provides a modest stipend to each trainee, depending on the length of time from your degree.
We employ a multi-disciplinary training program. Cross-disciplinary knowledge is needed to understand drug abuse etiology, behavior, consequences, and treatment. Substantive topics range from psychopharmacology to the social consequences of drug legislation. The variety of research approaches applicable to an understanding of drug abuse include experimental, quasi-experimental, survey, and naturalistic or ethnographic methods. Further, the unique nature of drug abuse data frequently requires new and creative analytic approaches such as specialized methods for analyzing non-normal data, quantifying data collected through qualitative methods, or merging qualitative and quantitative data. Other requirements include working with large databases and collecting data from drug-dependent populations.
Conducting drug abuse research also requires attention to the practical problems of carrying out a study, such as dealing with issues of confidentiality and ethics, and working with federal, state, and local agencies. Investigators must be prepared for and know how to deal with the compromises that must frequently be made between the requirements of an "ideal" research design and the constraints and difficulties imposed by programs and people in the real world. Furthermore, because of the complexities inherent in this type of research, researchers need to learn up-to-date computer methods of statistical analysis to enhance their own efficiency and make costly data more readily available. Finally, researchers need to develop competent writing and communication skills to disseminate research results effectively.
Each fellow is responsible for his or her own training experience, both in terms of process and outcomes, and is expected to be a self-motivated, adult learner. A wide variety of research training resources are available at ISAP and the larger UCLA community; it is anticipated that fellows will actively seek out and utilize these resources according to individual need and interest. To this end, research training activities may vary widely among fellows reflecting different levels of expertise and experience in drug abuse research methods, and specific areas of interest. Although certain coursework and evaluative components of the training program are relatively fixed, the individual trainee is encouraged to structure his or her research training experience in ways consistent with professional development and career goals.