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fuller analysis, and for other reasons—sometimes government rules and procedures themselves. Regardless of the history, we agree with Brown's argument that a reassessment of the nation's linked training and research policies would be useful.
It is plausible that job prospects of young life scientists will diminish further in the coming years unless unforeseen events intervene. The training system, by virtue of its time between graduate-school admission and obtaining of a first permanent position, is slow to respond to changing conditions. It behooves the profession to act in an intelligent and balanced way so that a future crisis will be avoided. If the difficulties of finding appropriate employment become sufficiently widespread, the discontent of postdoctoral fellows might infect undergraduates, who are considering graduate education in life sciences, and result in a decline in high-quality applications. For the future health of the life-science enterprise, we must encourage and retain our most talented aspirants, the people who will always have many attractive options.
In conclusion, the current life-science training enterprise is producing about 2.5 times the number of PhDs needed to fill the jobs that are currently available in academe and when all forms of research-oriented employment are considered, there are still more trainees than there are positions available—and the number of trainees is going up. The recommendations in chapter 6 are designed to ameliorate the stresses in the current situation and to increase the likelihood that we can keep the American life sciences strong and productive.
COSEPUP (National Academy of Sciences, Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy). 1995. Reshaping the Graduate Education of Scientists and Engineers. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
IOM (Institute of Medicine). 1984. The Career Achievements of NIH Predoctoral Trainees and Fellows. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
McIntosh R. 1994. Funding constraints and population growth: the cell biologist's nightmare. Amer Soc Cell Biol News 117(11):1–5.
NRC (National Research Council). 1995. Research Doctorate Programs in the United States. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
NSF (National Science Foundation). 1996. Science and Engineering Indicators 1996. NSB 96-21. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office.