Government Relations Update

NIH asks for input on future of scientific workforce

The Advisory Committee to the Director of the National Institutes of Health is examining the future of the biomedical and behavioral research workforce in the United States.  Its aim is to plan for training “the optimal number of people for the appropriate types of positions that will advance science and promote health.” 

The committee seeks input from the scientific community on such issues as:

  • “The balance between supply, including the number of domestic and foreign trained PhDs and post-docs, and demand, i.e. post-training career opportunities. 

  • Characteristics of PhD training in biomedical [including behavioral] research, including issues such as

- The length of the PhD training period. 

- Recommendations for changes to the PhD curriculum. 

- Training for multiple career paths (including bench and non-bench science).

  • Characteristics of clinician-research training including issues such as

- The balance between MDs and MD/PhDs

- Recommendations for changes to the curricula for training clinician-researchers.

- Career development of clinician-researchers.

  • Length of post-doctoral training. 

  • The ratio of PhD students and postdoctoral fellows on training grants to those supported by research grants. 

  • Possibilities for professional/staff scientist positions and the level of training required for such positions (e.g. PhD or MSc degrees). 

  • Issues related to the attractiveness of biomedical research careers (e.g. salary, working conditions, availability of research funding) 

  • The effect of changes in NIH policies on investigators, grantee institutions and the broader research enterprise.”

Instructions for submitting responses can be found in the Request for Information (NOT-OD-11-106, clarification: NOT-OD-11-114).  The deadline for submissions is October 7, 2011.