As I mentioned in an earlier post, the NIH Data Book on RePORT.nih.gov contains biomedical workforce data from NIH databases as well as data from national surveys sponsored by NSF and NIH. I thought it would be interesting to highlight the data on what’s trending for NIH-supported trainees and fellows receiving PhDs, in terms of fields of study. The chart below uses NIH trainee and fellow records and self-reported data on field of study from the Survey of Earned Doctorates, a census of all individuals receiving a research doctorate from a US university within a given academic year.
As you can see here, in some fields — such as molecular biology and biochemistry — the number of NIH-supported Ph.D. recipients has flattened out. Other fields, such as immunology, have increased steadily. The most striking trend, however, is in the field of neuroscience, where there has been a huge spike within the last decade. This likely comes as no surprise to the over 30,000 expected attendees at the Society for Neuroscience meeting which just wrapped up. Stay tuned next year for the next round of data from those receiving their doctoral degree in the 2012 academic year.