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Research-Doctorate Programs in the Biomedical Sciences: Selected Findings from the NRC Assessment Joan F. Lorden, Charlotte V. Kuh, and James A. Voytuk, editors An Assessment of Research-Doctorate Programs: Panel on the Biomedical Sciences Board on Higher Education and Workforce Policy and Global Affairs
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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This project was supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy (Grant DE-FG02-07ER35880), the National Institutes of Health (Grant N01-OD-4-2139, TO#170), the National Science Foundation (Grant OIA-0540823), the National Research Council, and contributions from 212 U.S. universities. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. The report can be downloaded as a free PDF at http://www.nap.edu. Suggested citation: National Research Council. 2011. Research-Doctorate Programs in the Biomedical Sciences: Selected Findings from the NRC Assessment. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. Copyright 2011 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
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The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org iii
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An Assessment of Research-Doctorate Programs: Panel on the Biomedical Sciences Joan F. Lorden, Chair, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, University of North Carolina at Charlotte Roger Chalkley, Senior Associate Dean of Biomedical Research Education and Training, Vanderbilt School of Medicine Virginia Hinshaw, Chancellor, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa Joan M. Lakoski, Associate Vice Chancellor for Science Education Outreach, Health Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, and Associate Dean for Science Education Outreach, Professor of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Carol B. Lynch, Dean Emerita of the Graduate School, University of Colorado at Boulder, Senior Scholar in Residence and Director of the Professional Master’s Programs, Council of Graduate Schools Robert M. Nerem, Institute Professor and Parker H. Petit Professor Emeritus, Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience, Georgia Institute of Technology Joel D. Oppenheim, Senior Associate Dean for Biomedical Sciences and Director, Sackler Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences, New York University School of Medicine Valerie Wilson, Associate Provost and Director of Institutional Diversity, Clinical Professor of Community Health, Brown University Scott L. Zeger, Professor and Vice Provost for Research, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, John Hopkins University Staff Charlotte V. Kuh, Study Director James A. Voytuk, Senior Program Officer Michelle Crosby-Nagy, Research Associate Sabrina E. Hall, Program Associate v
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Preface and Acknowledgments The panel was asked to respond to specific questions posed by NIH staff eager to learn more about what the recently issued Data-Based Assessment of Research-Doctorate Programs in the United States could reveal about the talent, training environment, outcomes, diversity, and international participation in the biomedical sciences workforce. The unprecedented amount of data collected from faculty, programs, and students as part of the Assessment provides a unique resource for a deeper understanding of these topics and for comparisons across fields. This report details some of the insights to be gained from mining the Assessment data. It also illustrates the challenges inherent in attempting to collect data consistently across many sources. Like most research projects, this one answered some questions but raised many more. Questions on career outcomes for doctoral recipients, the role of postdoctoral scholars in the training environment, and strategies for increasing the participation of underrepresented minorities on research faculties are among those that the panel considered but could not answer. Readers will certainly add more questions to those posed by NIH and by the panel and perhaps be encouraged to undertake further study of this rich data source themselves. This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Academies’ Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Irwin Arias, Tufts University; John Bailar, University of Chicago; Marie Davidian, North Carolina State University; David Korn, Harvard University; Thomas Louis, Johns Hopkins University; and Nancy Schwartz, University of Chicago. Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Stephen Fienberg, Carnegie Mellon University. Appointed by the National Academies, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution. Joan F. Lorden Chair vii
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Contents Summary 1 1 Introduction 9 2 Sources of the Data 13 3 Pairwise Correlations 17 4 Time to Degree, Funding, and Completion Rates 23 5 Representation of Underrepresented Minorities 27 6 Neuroscience and Neurobiology: Combining Data from the Program and Student Surveys 37 7 Postdoctoral Scholars: An Extension of the Data 41 8 Administrative Questions about Biomedical Science Programs 47 Appendixes A Biographies of Panel Members 51 B Committee and Board Rosters 57 C Definitions of Relevant Variables from the Data-Based Assessment of Research-Doctorate Programs 61 D Correlations in the Biomedical Sciences 67 E Biomedical Sciences Field Averages for Each Variable 79 ix
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