their hard-accumulated skills in research can be used. Unless steps are taken to put the system more in balance, the difference between students' expectations and the reality of the employment market will only widen and the workforce will become more disaffected. Such an occurrence would damage the life-science research enterprise and all the participants in it.
The training of life scientists is a highly decentralized activity. Notwithstanding the heavy dependence on federal funds, the most important decisions affecting the rate of production of life scientists are made locally by the universities and their faculties. The numbers and qualifications of students admitted to graduate study, the allocation of institutional funds for their tuition and stipends (which account for half or more of the total expenditures for graduate-student support), the requirements for the degree—all are local decisions. As a consequence, a large portion of the responsibility for implementing our recommendations falls on the shoulders of established investigators, their departments and universities, professional scientific organizations, and students themselves. Students must take the responsibility of making informed decisions about graduate study, but they must be provided accurate career information on which to base their decisions. Individual faculty members must be willing to set aside their short-term self-interest in maintaining the high level of staffing of their laboratories for the sake of the long-term stability and well-being of the scientific workforce. Directors of graduate programs must be willing to examine the future workforce needs of the scientific fields in which they train, not just the current needs of their individual departments for research and teaching assistants.
The recommendations in this report are offered as first steps to improve the overall quality of training and career prospects of future life scientists. We hope that the information in this report will be used to begin discussions within the life-science community on the best ways to prepare future scientists for exciting careers in the profession and to protect the vitality of the life-science research enterprise.