I recently came across an interesting article by Fuhrmann et al. in the fall 2011 edition of CBE—Life Sciences Education. The article talks about the range of career options that eventually attract graduate students who train at UCSF (Figure 1.).
Figure 1. UCSF graduate student career preferences. Courtesy of C.N. Fuhrmann et al., CBE Life Sciences Education, 2011.
The authors argue that a broader curriculum is needed to prepare individuals for careers in different employment settings, especially those outside of research. Shifting employment outcomes are also recognized on a national scale in the recommendations related to training grant peer review that appear in the National Research Council report Research Training in the Biomedical, Behavioral and Clinical Research Sciences .
Thinking about ways to improve research training and the balance between PhD production and future career opportunities reminds me to encourage each of you, either individually or through your professional society or institution, to think about responding to our request for information on the biomedical workforce. As I noted previously, the last day to submit a comment is October 7. This is an important way to communicate your opinions directly to the Advisory Committee to the Director’s study on the biomedical research workforce. Your input is important.