Another report urging reform for biomedical workforce training

Ebola is exceedingly real at this training of health care workers.

Ebola is exceedingly real at this training of health care workers.

Adam Bjork

“Rescue biomedical research” has become a rallying cry for those in the scientific community who worry that the glut of trainees, scarcity of tenure-track jobs, and tight funding environment spell disaster for the future of the research enterprise. There has been no shortage of reports about various aspects of the problem, and last month saw the launch of a new website to collect ideas for solutions.

Yesterday, a new set of voices entered the discussion, Jocelyn Kaiser reports at ScienceInsider. “In hope of finding consensus, the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) in Rockville, Maryland, combed through 267 recommendations in nine of these reports from a variety of groups that include the National Academy of Sciences and a group of postdocs. ASBMB pulled out eight suggestions common to most of the reports and presented them … in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.” Among other recommendations, the report’s authors suggest that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) should increase the postdoc salary to $50,000 (it is currently $42,840) and “move many trainees now supported by research grants onto fellowships and training grants, which offer a better training experience,” Kaiser writes.

But a new report does not mean there will be immediate change. “Asked about these recommendations, NIH Deputy Director for Extramural Research Sally Rockey urged caution,” Kaiser writes, suggesting that such drastic changes could have “adverse consequences” or “would not be practical or feasible.” 

You can read the full story at ScienceInsider.

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