As you may remember from previous blog posts Jan. 31, 2011 and June 3, 2011, a working group of the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director began studying the biomedical research workforce and published a request for information asking for input last fall.
Today, we posted a report summarizing the comments. I will give you a couple of highlights in this post, but I encourage you to read the report—I found it very interesting. We received input from more than 200 commenters, the majority of whom provided personal input (75%). Twenty percent of the commenters responded on behalf of organizations. The comments addressed all the issues described in the request for information, as well as some additional ones (see asterisks below). As you can see, questions of supply and demand and characteristics of the PhD received the most comments.
Distribution of Primary Issues. *Issue not specified in the request for information but raised by commenters.
Commenters were asked to indicate the most important issue(s) for the working group to address. The following table shows the differences in the prioritization of issues by individual and organizational respondents.
|Supply and Demand||PhD Characteristics|
|PhD Characteristics||Clinician Characteristics|
|Biomedical Research Career Appeal||Post-doc Training Characteristics|
|Post-doc Training Characteristics||Supply and Demand|
|Clinician Characteristics||Biomedical Research Career Appeal|
|Effects of NIH Policies||Staff Scientist Career Track|
|Mentoring||Effects of NIH Policies|
|Staff Scientist Career Track||Training to Research Grant Ratio|
|Industry Partnership||Early Educational Interventions|
|Early Educational Interventions||Mentoring|
|Training to Research Grant Ratio||Industry Partnership|
On each of these issues, the report describes the major comments and outlines specific recommendations for NIH action. In general, commenters suggested that most of the issues discussed are inter-related and are important for a sustainable biomedical workforce. A set of secondary issues that were mentioned in many of the responses were analyzed for each primary issue to help describe the overlap.
The working group is incorporating these responses in their deliberations as they consider their recommendations for a sustainable biomedical infrastructure. I will continue to update you as their activities progress.