in university-based research laboratories. As the funds for research increased in the postwar years, the number of life-science PhDs granted per year grew correspondingly—from 1,660 in 1960 to 4,980 in 1971, tripling in only 10 years.
Those patterns of government investment had profound effects on both the number and the structure of US universities. Building on the foundations established by the early research orientation of Johns Hopkins University and the expansion of academic medicine, as initiated by the Flexner report (Flexner 1910), the influx of federal support for research helped to change American universities into research-intensive institutions. For example, training was seen as part of the mission of NCI from its beginnings in the 1930s. Recodification of the Ransdell Act during 1944 reauthorized the training activities specified in the act. The training of scientists at the master's and PhD levels became an integral part of research. As new national institutes came into being, the authority for training—research or clinical—was often included as an essential component of their missions and incorporated into their statutory portfolio, as specified in Title IV of the Public Health Service Act. Funds to support the tuition and stipends of students and fellows were now often included as items in the budgets of federal research grants. By the early 1950s, NIH had administratively crafted an elaborate set of training mechanisms, including grants for predoctoral, postdoctoral, and special fellowships and for predoctoral and postdoctoral training; these supported a wide variety of training programs in the biomedical sciences.
The most general and comprehensive statutory authority for supporting research training was added to Section 301(d) of Title III of the Public Health Service Act by an amendment enacted in 1962 as part of PL 87-838. The amendment extended the limited authority of the surgeon general (later the secretary) from supporting simply "such research projects as are approved by the National Advisory Health Council" to supporting "such research and research training projects as are approved …" By the early 1970s, more than 6,000 life-science graduate students were supported by NIH and NSF training grants or fellowships. The National Research Act of 1974 (PL 93-348) established the National Research Service Awards program, providing funds for competitive individual fellowships for graduate students and postgraduate fellows. It also instituted a mechanism by which a committee appointed by the National Academy of Sciences met every 2 years to identify current national research training needs (NRC 1994). The new mechanism led to the termination of some training grants, but the general level of support for biomedical training continued to grow. The sums spent for life-science research training continued to mirror those spent for life-sciences research, as exemplified by the transient drop in the number of PhDs granted per year during the middle to late 1970s, which followed a temporary cessation in the rapid growth of research funding that occurred during the late 1960s. When federal research investments resumed growth in the middle 1970s, the rate of PhD production followed suit. The expansion of training has continued at various rates ever since, as detailed in chapter 2.
The growth of the life sciences has permitted the absorption into the research workforce of a large fraction of the ever-increasing trainees. The ready availability of recent PhDs has also contributed to the success of companies built on the life sciences, such as in the biotechnology industry. Scientists needed to guide company decisions and workers to staff research laboratories were already available when the discoveries of recombinant DNA in the 1970s empowered entrepreneurial scientists to develop processes that would make marketable products of an unprecedented kind. Human proteins could now be synthesized in large quantities outside the human body and used as therapeutic agents of great practical utility. During the 1980s, this