Conversations About NIH Support of Graduate Training Programs

Monday, in a blog post on the Feedback Loop, colleagues at NIGMS outline the recent history of NIH’s efforts that impact graduate student training, as well as recent discussions beyond NIH on how to modernize and revitalize graduation education and training.

These conversations raise an important question, “Is NIH’s support of graduate-level training keeping pace with how we do science?”. ….. Continue reading

Update on the Postdoctoral Benefit Survey

In 2014, the NIH announced that it was going to distribute the NIH postdoctoral benefits survey to collect information on benefits available to postdoctoral researchers at different institutions. The survey was launched in response to a report on the biomedical research workforce from an Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD) working group. …. Continue reading

How Would You Address Diversity in the Physician-Scientist Workforce?

As part of a wider initiative to shape the future direction of research training for the biomedical workforce as a whole, we at the NIH are actively pursuing ways to examine the physician-scientist workforce and to optimize training for clinicians seeking research careers. Physician-scientists face some challenges and career transition pathways unique to being in a clinical career track, hence the need for a specific focus on this workforce. Continue reading

Welcoming the Inaugural Director of the NIH Division of Biomedical Research Workforce Programs

I am pleased and excited to announce that in August, Dr. Kay Lund will join NIH as the inaugural director of the NIH Division of Biomedical Research Workforce Programs. As you might recall, the NIH Advisory Committee to the Director‘s Biomedical Workforce Working Group recommended that NIH recruit a leader and establish a dedicated office to guide NIH’s training and development of a well-prepared biomedical workforce…. Continue reading

More Data on Age and the Workforce

There has been a lot of discussion in the community about the age of NIH supported researchers. As I’ve mentioned here on the blog before, we continue to examine how best to sustain the biomedical workforce. There are many ways to characterize our workforce or the biomedical research ecosystem, and many factors that contribute to successfully obtaining an NIH award. Since the topic of age is a popular one right now, I’d like to share with you some recent analyses that my office looked into regarding the distribution of research funding by age group.

We examined total and direct costs of NIH research project grants from 1998 through the last full fiscal year, and graphed the distribution of research funding by age group. The full data is posted on RePORT, and since the patterns are similar, I’ll post the graph of direct cost funding distribution below: …. Continue reading

Seeking Your Input on Sustaining the Workforce Through an Emeritus Award

From enhancing diversity to supporting training in emerging fields, over the past three years NIH has continued to examine the needs of the biomedical workforce and create initiatives that will sustain the amazing work being performed by you, the extramural research community. Our efforts place a lot of focus on trainees and early stage investigators through policy changes and new programs, but there are two sides to every equation. We have many well-established research programs run by senior investigators. We want to explore how …. Continue reading

Better Research Trainee Data through Streamlined Reporting Processes

Training of the next generation of biomedical scientists is a core responsibility of NIH and its partner grantee institutions.The NIH Advisory Council to the Director‘s Biomedical Research Workforce Working Group recommended that NIH should “develop a simple and comprehensive tracking system for trainees” as part of the broader challenge of gathering better biomedical workforce data. Unambiguous identification of NIH trainees was an absolutely critical first step in establishing the ability to examine contributing factors that lead to various post-training careers. Accordingly we started collecting information in this way by requiring that all post-doctorates and all graduate and undergraduate students listed in a grantee’s progress report have an eRA Commons ID (as of 2009 and 2013, respectively). The next important step is developing a system to automate the capture of trainee data that has long been provided by extramural institutions in their training grant applications. …. Continue reading

Retention Rates for First-Time R01 Awardees

We have seen increased interest in the biomedical workforce by Congress and especially by our community. From our end we’ve in particular observed heightened attention to how the dynamics of the workforce impact researchers in the early stages of their careers. So the topic definitely deserves our continued attention and I thought in light of this it’d be a good time to share some of NIH’s analyses on one specific aspect of this that my office has been closely examining. …. Continue reading

New NIH Awards to Enhance Diversity in the Scientific Workforce

Today marks an important step forward for NIH’s support of a diverse scientific workforce. NIH has announced the awardees of unique, targeted programs for developing new approaches to engage researchers from underrepresented backgrounds and for preparing them to thrive in scientific careers. …. Continue reading