Second, current market conditions are an important influence on young people's decisions to become research scientists.
The Panel on Estimation Procedures has conducted a series of preliminary assessments of available models of supply and demand and has concluded that they are of no utility to this present effort to establish the nation's overall need for biomedical and behavioral research personnel. The committee has accepted this conclusion and suspended use of mathematical models of supply and demand with this study.
The panel has concluded that new approaches are needed to project the supply of these researchers and to estimate demand. The panel has suggested the use of multistate life tables for assessing changes in the composition of the labor force over time. The committee has accepted this suggestion. The panel has also offered sample short-term indicators of demand, some of which are included in this report. 7
The committee believes that the panel has made a significant contribution to the process of establishing overall need for biomedical and behavioral scientists by demonstrating the potential value of techniques that monitor changes in the supply of scientists and the value of short-term indicators of demand over previous mathematical approaches to estimating supply and demand adopted by the NRC. Although the product of their work, found in the next two chapters, must be viewed as preliminary, it already shows promise as a policy tool in human resource studies.
1. See, also, Appendix A for a brief overview of the key features of previous NRC reports in this area.
2. Legislative reform in the 1970s resulted in the inclusion of nursing research personnel around 1978. Oral health research personnel (included by that name in this present study) represented an outgrowth of the clinical sciences. Research training needs in that area were addressed separately as “dental research training” in the late 1970s.
3. The Panel reviewed earlier models developed by previous NRC committees but concluded that their attention to “academic employment opportunities ” restricted their utility to present market concerns, and removed them from serious consideration for further use by the National Research Council.
4. M. Rothschild, report to the Committee on National Needs for Biomedical and Behavioral Research Personnel, September 11, 1993.
5. M. Rothschild, ibid. Rothschild continues: “Tinkering with the model while retaining its basic structure will not make it a useful tool.”
6. Since future Ph.D.s are produced only by those prior Ph.D.s who entered academia, projections of the supply of future Ph.D.s must separate these two components of doctoral supply. Simple projections of future supply based on the current entire doctoral population are misleading.
7. The committee restricted the application of these new techniques to the market outlook in the basic biomedical and behavioral sciences. This was due to the fact that data requirements made detailed analyses possible only in those areas. To the extent data were available for a similar set of variables, they were included in other chapters. However, the multistate life table method was restricted to work in chapter 3 and chapter 4 owing to the lack of information of sufficient detail to permit the application of that method in the other areas.
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