Too many graduate students and postdocs chasing too few academic jobs has led to a dysfunctional biomedical research system. That's the conclusion of a draft report on the biomedical workforce released this month by an advisory panel to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The panel urged taking steps to shorten young scientists' career paths, including capping how long graduate students can receive NIH support and better preparing them for non-academic careers. The report also encourages university labs to rely more on staff scientists rather than trainees.
But is it a good idea to tinker with the research system at a time when NIH funding is tighter than ever? And given that most biomedical Ph.D.s will find a job, are there really too many?
Join us for a live chat at 3 p.m. EDT on this Thursday, 28 June, to discuss the NIH workforce report with two experts, including panel co-chair Shirley Tilghman. You can leave your questions in the comment box below before the chat starts. The full text of the chat will be archived on this page.
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Shirley Tilghman is the president of Princeton University and the co-chair of the NIH Biomedical Research Workforce Working Group, which delivered its draft report to the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director on 14 June. Tilghman ran a molecular biology lab for 24 years before becoming a full-time administrator.
Joseph LaManna is president of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, a coalition of 26 societies representing over 100,000 biomedical researchers. LaManna is also a professor of physiology and biophysics, neurology and neuroscience at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland.
Jocelyn has been a staff writer for Science magazine since 1995. She started out covering environmental science, from deformed frogs to melting Antarctic ice shelves. More recently, she took on biomedical research policy and the National Institutes of Health.