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INTERNATIONAL BENCHMARKING OF US IMMUNOLOGY RESEARCH
has varied between 30 and 40% according to Table 4.1 and Figure 4.22 . Foreign students are not eligible to receive NIH training grants. The panel believes that this level of funding combined with the increasing time to degree and low wages influenced the quality of US students who entered immunology programs.
4.4 Training of US Students
Panel members perceive the quality of US graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in immunology to be declining. Several factors might contribute to a decline in quality. The trend toward department structures in which students are admitted into a large multidisciplinary program before choosing a specialty offers more varied opportunities for students. Because immunology is often, although inaccurately, viewed as too specialized and less interdisciplinary than other fields, students might be choosing other fields that are considered more general. Graduate study (of 5-7 years) followed by 3-5 years of postdoctoral training at salaries less than those of technicians might lead many talented young US citizens to choose other fields of endeavor. There is also a loss of MD talent in the field because of the cost of education and the salary differentials after completion of degree work.
In the United States, while there has been a downward trend in the number of PhD immunologists in academic positions, there has been a steady increase in the number of non-tenure-track appointments as shown in Table 4.2. In the early 1980s, 50% of immunologists with academic appointments had tenure or were in a tenure-track. In 1995, the proportioned had decreased to about 40%. In the last 15 years, there has been an even more rapid increase in immunologists in industrial careers. Only about 10% of PhD immunologists went into industrial positions after completing their training in 1981, and almost 25% in 1995. The unemployment rate has remained very low 3 . Data for comparisons with other countries were unavailable.
Data in this paragraph from special analysis by NRC Office of Scientific and Engineering Personnel of data from the survey of Doctorate Recipients and the Survey of Earned Doctorates for this study.
Data in this paragraph from special analysis by NRC Office of Scientific and Engineering Personnel of data from the Survey of Doctorate Recipients for this study.