The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Biomedical Workforce Working Group presented a draft report to the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director on Thursday, June 14. The report, which incorporates many of ASH's recommendations, summarizes data on the biomedical workforce, and presents recommendations on strategies designed to attract, prepare, and retain the best and diverse scientific workforce.
The report's recommendations include:
- An increase in the proportion of postdoctoral researchers supported by training grants and fellowships and a decrease in those supported by research project grants.
- Modification of training programs to include diverse types of training and career development experiences to prepare students for various career options outside the academic research career track.
- Improved tracking of trainees' career outcomes.
- An increase in the minimal stipend for postdoctoral researchers.
- A cap on the number of years a graduate student may be supported by NIH funding.
- Greater receptivity by NIH study sections to grant applications that include staff scientists.
The report notes that similar recommendations have been put forward by other groups studying the biomedical workforce in the past, but that implementation of these recommendations was limited by funding constraints. The Biomedical Workforce Working Group urged the NIH to provide sufficient funding to implement the above recommendations in order to effectively increase the attractiveness of biomedical research as a career.
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