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Evaluation of the Markey Scholars Program
average of 3.4 NIH grants during the 10-year interval that we surveyed or one grant every 3 years. More importantly, these Scholars received, on average, 2.0 R01 grants, or approximately one every 5 years.
The committee also concludes that the process used by the Markey Trust to nominate, screen, and select Scholars was effective in identifying biomedical researchers who would be able to rapidly advance to independence. In fact, many of the Scholars already considered their research to be independent at the time of the award.
The committee concludes that the annual Scholars Conference conducted by the Trust was an important component in the Scholars program. The Scholars Conference offered opportunities to network with other Scholars, members of the Scholar selection committee, and invited guests. In addition, it exposed Scholars to areas of biomedical science outside of their specialties.
Finally, while it did not have the impact of the Scholars program, the Visiting Fellows program made an important contribution in advancing biomedical research and in technology transfer.
Recommendation 1. Other funders, especially NIH, should consider creating awards that facilitate the transition from postdoctoralfellow to faculty status.
The committee recognizes that the transition from postdoctoral fellow to faculty status can be stressful. Moreover, very few funding programs provide career transition awards, although there has been recognition of the need for such programs for several years. A few years ago, the NRC Committee on Dimensions, Causes, and Implications of Recent Trends in the Careers of Life Scientists (National Research Council, 1998) recommended:
Because of its concern for optimizing the creativity of young scientists and broadening the variety of scientific problems under study in the life sciences the committee recommends that public and private funding agencies establish “career-transition” grants for senior postdoctoral fellows. The intent is to identify the highest-quality scientists while they are still postdoctoral fellows and give them financial independence to begin new scientific projects of their own design in anticipation of their obtaining fully independent positions. The recommendation is based on the experience of the Lucille P. Markey Charitable Trust’s Scholars in Biomedical Sciences Program.
In 1999, the NIH made the first of the K22 Career Transition Awards, designed to support an individual postdoctoral fellow in the transition to