It's Gonna Take a Lot More Than Money ...

By: 
Eli Kintisch
2009-01-30 14:46
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…according to Beryl Lieff Benderly, to help young students who want to pursue scientific careers get ahead and thereby bolster America's stature as a research powerhouse. Politicians who want to boost American researchers may focus on federal money for science, but she says it's an overhaul of the basic research system in the United States that's needed. There have got to be jobs available for students when they leave universities with Ph.D.s, she says, and the current hierarchical system of basic research labs based in universities isn't cutting it:

Instead of depending for labor on a constant stream of cheap, temporary students and postdoc “trainees,” labs need to establish many long-term positions that offer workers a realistic income commensurate with their education and experience as well as opportunities for advancement within predictable career tracks. A model that many experts favor is staffing labs primarily with bachelors- or masters-level career technicians and PhD-level permanent staff scientists while using much smaller percentages of grad students and postdocs.

Because these new-style labs would not depend on student labor, they would not need to be in universities. ... Janelia Farm. the Howard Hughes Research Institute’s innovative new research facility in Ashburn, Virginia, eschews university-style hierarchy and places a strong emphasis on employing long-term PhD staff scientists.

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