CHAPTER THREE

BASIC BIOMEDICAL SCIENCES PERSONNEL

Exciting developments in the basic biomedical sciences continue to attract talented individuals to research careers. Although the National Institutes of Health (NIH) provide both extramural and intramural support to advance research and maintain a pool of skilled scientists, it is the National Research Service Awards (NRSA) program that provides the most promising young scientists with the funds they need to complete their training while pursuing research topics of interest to them and the nation.

Like previous NRC committees formed to address the future direction of the NRSA program, we have considered the appropriate level and mix of predoctoral and postdoctoral support in the basic biomedical sciences given advances in basic research and changing employment patterns for scientists in component fields (see Appendix B for a field taxonomy). This has been a challenging task for three reasons. First, changes at the NIH may well favor a shift toward more basic research in the health sciences. However, unless resources are made available to basic biomedical scientists to pursue those new directions, the connection between training and research will be broken. The continued success of the NRSA program depends on its ability to attract highly qualified and promising students to enter training and pursue careers in research. The interest of potential trainees in such a career and their ability to pursue it depends, in turn, on continued federal commitment to support health-related research as an important national need.

A second, possibly related, challenge we confronted involves the interpretation of the current and future market for basic biomedical scientists. We realize much has been written recently about the difficulties some young biomedical scientists have encountered in locating positions in research settings and/or securing research support. (Indeed, a recent report of the National Research Council's Commission on Life Sciences [NRC, 1994] addressed the topic of obtaining NIH support.) We believe that for some young scientists the market has become sluggish. We cannot help but observe, however, that the unemployment rate of basic biomedical scientists is estimated to be about 2 percent or less and has not changed significantly in the past two decades. We attribute this finding to the fact that not all Ph.D.-level scientists pursue careers in academic research settings; some work in government, industry, or schools. Almost all are essential, however, to the support of the infrastructure of the nation's research and training enterprise in the basic biomedical sciences.

Our Panel on Estimation Procedures has persuaded us that the mathematical models of supply and demand found in previous reports on the NRSA program should be abandoned in favor of an analysis of the supply of scientists and a separate look at selected indicators of market conditions. As noted in the previous chapter (Chapter 2) mathematical models of supply and demand have a number of deficiencies, among them a lag in information about the most recent employment prospects. While the new techniques developed by the panel have not solved the problem of having up-to-date market information, the analyses inherent in the indicators of market conditions coupled with the use of multistate life table analyses of changes in supply represent at least a partial solution. These analyses do not offer a specific assessment of future demand. Because of this, the committee chose to develop alternative assumptions about the growth of future demand and to examine the implications of these assumptions for the number of degrees in biomedical sciences that would be required to meet these assumed rates of growth. The product of that assessment may be found in the pages that follow.

On the basis of that analysis and our subsequent deliberations, we conclude that the national biomedical effort



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CHAPTER THREE BASIC BIOMEDICAL SCIENCES PERSONNEL Exciting developments in the basic biomedical sciences continue to attract talented individuals to research careers. Although the National Institutes of Health (NIH) provide both extramural and intramural support to advance research and maintain a pool of skilled scientists, it is the National Research Service Awards (NRSA) program that provides the most promising young scientists with the funds they need to complete their training while pursuing research topics of interest to them and the nation. Like previous NRC committees formed to address the future direction of the NRSA program, we have considered the appropriate level and mix of predoctoral and postdoctoral support in the basic biomedical sciences given advances in basic research and changing employment patterns for scientists in component fields (see Appendix B for a field taxonomy). This has been a challenging task for three reasons. First, changes at the NIH may well favor a shift toward more basic research in the health sciences. However, unless resources are made available to basic biomedical scientists to pursue those new directions, the connection between training and research will be broken. The continued success of the NRSA program depends on its ability to attract highly qualified and promising students to enter training and pursue careers in research. The interest of potential trainees in such a career and their ability to pursue it depends, in turn, on continued federal commitment to support health-related research as an important national need. A second, possibly related, challenge we confronted involves the interpretation of the current and future market for basic biomedical scientists. We realize much has been written recently about the difficulties some young biomedical scientists have encountered in locating positions in research settings and/or securing research support. (Indeed, a recent report of the National Research Council's Commission on Life Sciences [NRC, 1994] addressed the topic of obtaining NIH support.) We believe that for some young scientists the market has become sluggish. We cannot help but observe, however, that the unemployment rate of basic biomedical scientists is estimated to be about 2 percent or less and has not changed significantly in the past two decades. We attribute this finding to the fact that not all Ph.D.-level scientists pursue careers in academic research settings; some work in government, industry, or schools. Almost all are essential, however, to the support of the infrastructure of the nation's research and training enterprise in the basic biomedical sciences. Our Panel on Estimation Procedures has persuaded us that the mathematical models of supply and demand found in previous reports on the NRSA program should be abandoned in favor of an analysis of the supply of scientists and a separate look at selected indicators of market conditions. As noted in the previous chapter (Chapter 2) mathematical models of supply and demand have a number of deficiencies, among them a lag in information about the most recent employment prospects. While the new techniques developed by the panel have not solved the problem of having up-to-date market information, the analyses inherent in the indicators of market conditions coupled with the use of multistate life table analyses of changes in supply represent at least a partial solution. These analyses do not offer a specific assessment of future demand. Because of this, the committee chose to develop alternative assumptions about the growth of future demand and to examine the implications of these assumptions for the number of degrees in biomedical sciences that would be required to meet these assumed rates of growth. The product of that assessment may be found in the pages that follow. On the basis of that analysis and our subsequent deliberations, we conclude that the national biomedical effort

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continues to benefit from the steady addition of men and women (including minorities) to the basic biomedical sciences work force. They appear to be employed productively, although not all may be working in research laboratories. The best predictions for economic activity and research and development (R&D) funding in the near future suggest, however, that demand for basic biomedical scientists will grow slowly. Our primary concern at this time, therefore, is to maintain the supply of highly skilled scientists required to keep our nation in a lead position in all areas of basic and applied biomedical sciences, respond rapidly and effectively in combating new problems in human health and disease, and ensure the efficient transfer of new knowledge and technology into developing areas of clinical promise and industrial opportunity. Meeting the national need for highly qualified and productive biomedical scientists depends on attracting sufficient numbers of the best and brightest high school and college students into scientific careers at the graduate level, which in turn depends on facilitating access of all qualified students to this education path. The NRSA program clearly has an important role to play in that effort. In considering the future role of the NRSA program in meeting national needs for bioscientists, we confronted our third challenge: the increasing attractiveness of stipends for research training from sources other than the NRSA program. We learned from participants at the public hearing (May 1993, Appendix C) that the NRSA program generally remains effective in recruiting individuals into the research training path and launching them into research careers. However, for reasons largely related to years of stagnant growth in stipend support, the NRSA is no longer competitive with other mechanisms of training support, which have higher stipends and more flexibility. The committee considered these issues and concluded that high priority must be given to restoring appropriate stipend support through the NRSA program even at the expense of overall growth in the total number of awards in the basic biomedical sciences over the next few years. Thus, our recommendations for the future direction of the NRSA program reflect our deep conviction that the NRSA program must continue to play a significant role in the national biomedical research effort and that this will require prompt attention to issues of stipend size and flexibility. In the pages that follow we shall address each of these issues. ADVANCES IN RESEARCH Innovations in basic science and in technology are inextricably intertwined and inseparable. Advances in basic science lead to development of new technologies that, on the one hand, give rise to new therapies and industrial applications, and on the other hand, give rise to fresh advances in science from which, in turn, emerge additional new technologies. Thus, advances of the 1960s and early 1970s in biochemistry, microbiology, and genetics provided the information required for development of recombinant DNA technology, which has, in turn, provided the basis for revolutionary new insights in many fields of biology and medicine and has given rise to novel diagnostic and therapeutic modalities and to an entirely new biotechnology industry. More recently, the discovery of extremely thermophilic bacteria that live in hot springs and deep ocean vents and study of their biochemistry, together with other advances in molecular biology and recombinant DNA technology, has led to a new refinement in molecular biological analyses, the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). PCR has proven to be an extraordinarily powerful tool in basic biomedical and clinical research and has important applications in areas of medical biotechnology, such as clinical diagnostics. Indeed, it is noteworthy that Dr. Kary Mullis shared the 1993 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work in development of PCR. A second new technology with major applications in clinical medicine and industry, as well as basic biomedical research, arose from immunologists ' need to understand the nature of the immune response and the mechanisms controlling the formation of antibodies. The so-called monoclonal antibody technique provides a method of exquisite specificity and sensitivity for identifying and purifying any molecule that is capable of eliciting an immune antibody response. Current medical applications include, for example, rapid and precise identification and analysis of pathogenic microorganisms and tumor cells and purification of specific types of immune cells for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. These and other innovative technologies, in conjunction with advances in microchemistry, instrumentation, and, most notably, computer science, have fueled a continuing explosion of understanding in many fields of basic biomedical sciences. These include mechanisms of regulation of gene expression in growth, differentiation, and development; biochemical mechanisms regulating normal and abnormal cell growth and multiplication; mechanisms whereby the immune system recognizes, processes, and responds to antigenic stimuli; protein structure at atomic resolution, the relationship of structure to specific protein function, and the principles of protein design; mechanisms of nervous system development and function, including molecular bases of learning and memory; elucidation of the human genome and its expression; and development of new food crops to feed the world's population. Advances over the past decade in areas of basic biomedical science such as those cited above have profound

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implications for understanding the genesis of major human diseases and for future development of effective means of prevention, therapy, and cure. Efforts to map the human genome and identify mutant genes responsible for heritable diseases are progressing rapidly under the aegis of the Human Genome Project and form the basis of the newly emerging field of gene therapy. It is worth noting that studies on the human genome depend heavily on technologies which derive from concurrent work on mouse genetics and embryology, such as construction of transgenic mice. These technologies have also been important for discovery and functional analysis of so-called oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes. The protein products of those genes normally serve as important regulators of gene expression or cellular growth and multiplication but can, through mutation or aberrant expression, trigger unregulated cancerous growth of cells. The rapidly increasing understanding of the complicated biochemical and genetic means by which control of cell growth and multiplication is achieved—and lost —are providing major new insights into the root causes of cancer and possible strategies for prevention and therapy. During the past decade, structural biology (specifically, determination of three-dimensional macromolecular structure at atomic resolution) has undergone a renaissance with the advent of recombinant DNA-based methods for production of large amounts of pure proteins and nucleic acids and concomitant improvements in instrumentation and computational methods. This information is crucial, not only for understanding functional interactions of normal and abnormal proteins, but also for determining how drugs interact with their target proteins and for rational design of new agents with improved therapeutic properties. ASSESSMENT OF THE CURRENT MARKET FOR BASIC BIOMEDICAL SCIENTISTS Employment conditions for biomedical scientists were relatively robust throughout the 1980s (Figure 3-1). In re FIGURE 3-1 U.S. biomedical science workforce, 1981-1991. See Appendix Table F-3. sponse to expanding opportunities in health research, the basic biomedical work force grew dramatically, rising from roughly 64,000 Ph.D.s in 1981 to nearly 92,000 in 1991. This 44 percent growth is about twice that of the total science and engineering work force and quadruple the rate of employment growth of the total U.S. work force 1 Accompanying this dramatic work force growth were substantial changes in its composition. Among the notable changes were the growing prominence of females and Asians 2 and the declining prominence of native-born male citizens. Accompanying these changes in work force characteristics were changes in the nature of employment opportunities. Academic employment declined as a relative share of total employment as industrial employment grew. As Figure 3-2 suggests, about 23 percent of the basic biomedical science work force were women in 1991, up from 17 percent in 1981. Almost half of the women in the FIGURE 3-2 Fraction of the U.S. biomedical science work force who are women, 1981 and 1991. See Appendix Table F-3. 1991 work force were younger than 40, compared with roughly 38 per cent of the men. 3 The biomedical sciences work force has also become more racially diverse over the years, but progress has been slow. In 1991 nearly 12 percent of the employed biomedical science Ph.D.s represented individuals from a racial minority group (Table 3-1). In 1979 these minorities represented about 8 percent of the biomedical work force. Most of the growth occurred for Asians. Progress in ethnic diversity is less dramatic. In 1991 Hispanics represented about 2 percent of the biomedical scientists. In 1979 the comparable statistic was roughly 1 percent. The age distribution of the work force is an important early-warning indicator of future replacement needs. Despite its rapid growth over the past decade, the biomedical work force is aging (Figure 3-3). The median age has risen slowly from 39 to 42 years. Based on these projections, the 1989 study concluded that annual replacement needs would increase by 28 percent between 1987 and 1995, from 5,086 to 6,543 as a result of replacement demand (NRC, 1989).

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TABLE 3-1 Racial/Ethnic Composition of the Employed Biomedical Ph.D.s: 1981 and 1991   1981 a 1991 b   Number Percent Number Percent Race         TOTAL 58,264 100.0 85,275 100.0 White 53,005 91.0 75,830 88.9 Black 722 1.2 1656 1.9 Asian/Pacific Islander 4,438 7.6 7,583 8.9 Other (Incl. Native American) 99 0.2 206 0.2 Ethnicity         TOTAL 56,950 100.0 84,803 100.0 Hispanic 818 1.4 1,263 1.5 Non-Hispanic 56,132 98.6 83,540 98.5 a For those who responded in 1981. Race nonresponse was 182 in 1981 and ethnic nonresponse was 1,496. b For those who responded in 1991. Race nonresponse was 321 in 1991 and ethnic nonresponse was 793. NOTE: Employed biomedical Ph.D.s are those with a biomedical Ph.D., regardless of employment field. Estimates are subject to sampling error. Comparisons between 1991 estimates and those of earlier years should be made with caution due to changes in survey methodology. Prior to 1991, the SDR collected data by mail methods only. In 1991, the survey had both a mail component and a telephone follow-up component. In this table, 1991 estimates are based on “mail-only” data to maintain greater comparability with earlier years. SOURCE: NRC, Survey of Doctorate Recipients. (Biennial) FIGURE 3-3 Median age of U.S. biomedical science work force gender, 1981-1991. See Appendix Table F-3. FIGURE 3-4 Citizenship status of employed biomedical science Ph.D.s, 1981-1991. See Appendix Table F-4.

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Almost 95 percent of employed biomedical science Ph.D.s were U.S. citizens in 1991 (Figure 3-4). However, between 1981 and 1991, native-born U.S. citizens became a smaller proportion of the total U.S. biomedical work force. That is, in 1981 native-born U.S. citizens represented 87.5 percent of the biomedical work force, compared with 85.4 percent in 1991. While weak, this declining trend reflects the more general phenomenon in science and engineering as a whole, wherein U.S. native-born citizens represented 86.4 percent of the Ph.D. work force in 1981 but only 82.7 percent ten years later (NSF, 1990). Individuals holding postdoctoral appointments are an important component of employment in the biomedical field. Proportionately, more women than men held postdoctoral appointments.4 In part, the difference is because the likelihood of holding a postdoctoral position var FIGURE 3-5 Employment sector of the U.S. biomedical science work force, 1981-1991. See Appendix Table F-5. ies inversely with career age, and women, as more recent participants in biomedical science, tend to be younger. Opportunities for employment in the academic sector have grown more slowly than have opportunities for employment in nontraditional settings (Figure 3-5). As a resuit, only 54 percent of the biomedical science work force were employed in academia in 1991 in contrast to two-thirds in 1981. This trend reflects the changes in academic employment prospects experienced by those in many other fields. Offsetting this trend, however, has been the dramatic rise in employment opportunities in industry. This sector accounted for almost 28 percent of 1991 employment, up from almost 17 percent in 1981. The proportion of the basic biomedical workforce employed in other sectors (such as government or in hospitals and clinics) remained about the same during that period. Degree Production and Career Patterns The major source of new biomedical science talent has been our nation 's university system. It is not the only source of talent, however. Some jobs are filled by immigrants who received their degrees in other countries. Furthermore, some recipients of biomedical Ph.D.s are employed in other fields, and some biomedical science jobs are filled by workers with degrees in other fields. Degree Production The most readily available source of information about patterns of degree production is the Doctorate Records File, 5 which describes degree production from U.S. universities; the committee summarizes this information below. A declining trend in degree production occurred between FIGURE 3-6 Biomedical science Ph.D. production, 1981-1992. NOTE: Data limited to U.S. citizens and permanent residents. See Appendix Table F-6. 1981 and 1985 and was followed by a relatively stronger upward trend between 1987 and 1992. The annual number of degrees produced in the biomedical sciences rose by 10 percent over the entire period, from about 3,400 to almost 3,800 (Figure 3-6). This rate of increase was notably slower than the comparable rate of 31 percent for doctorates in all fields of science and engineering (Ries and Thurgood, 1993). There were notable changes in the characteristics of the degree recipients in the biomedical sciences: an increasing fraction were female and a smaller fraction were U.S. citizens. The average age of recipients increased. Significant progress has been made in achieving gender diversity. The number of degrees granted to women increased between 1981 and 1992 by almost 60 percent (from roughly 1,000 to about 1,600). In 1981 women represented 29 percent of the degrees produced in biomedical sciences; by 1992 they received 43 percent (Figure 3-7). Little progress has been made with respect to race and

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FIGURE 3-7 Fraction of biomedical science Ph.D. degrees earned each year by women, 1981-1992. NOTE: Data limited to U.S. citizens and permanent residents. See Appendix Table F-6. ethnic diversity, however (Table 3-2). When analyses are restricted to degree recipients who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents, we find that whites constituted about 91 percent of 1981 degree production; in 1992 they represented just over 86 percent. Roughly half of this small decline can be accounted for by the growth in the number of degree recipients of Asian origin. The share of degrees awarded to Asians rose from 5.3 in 1981 to 8.4 percent in 1992. There has also been a dramatic change in the citizenship status of biomedical degree recipients. The percentage who were U.S. citizens declined from 88 percent in 1981 to 69 percent in 1992 (Figure 3-8). Similar changes are occurring in other fields, particularly in the physical sciences and engineering (NSF, 1990). This change may ultimately be reflected in the citizenship characteristics of the biomedical work force.6 FIGURE 3-8 Fraction of biomedical science Ph.D. degres earned each year by U.S. citizens, 1981-1992. See Appendix Table F-7. TABLE 3-2 Biomedical Ph.D. Production Over Time, by Race and Ethnicity     1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 Total N 3293 3359 3243 3294 3126 3162 3119 3406 3429 3482 3684 3728 White % 91.5 91.1 90.4 90.3 89.9 89.5 88.9 89.5 88.7 88.5 86.3 86.3 Black   1.9 1.8 1.6 1.9 2.0 1.6 2.3 1.9 2.2 2.0 2.3 2.1 Hispanic   1.2 1.5 1.4 1.5 1.8 2.1 2.2 2.4 2.3 2.6 2.7 2.7 Asian   5.3 5.4 6.3 6.0 5.9 6.2 6.2 6.0 6.5 6.7 8.3 8.4 Native American   0.2 0.2 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.6 0.3 0.2 0.3 0.1 0.3 0.5 NOTE: Cases with missing data are excluded. Data limited to U.S. citizens and permanent residents. SOURCE: NRC, Survey of Earned Doctorates. (Annual) Career Patterns Given the objective of the NRSA awards—to produce research scientists—it is useful to have some notion of the number of years over the course of a career that these scientists remain engaged in R&D. The effectiveness of the program will vary with this number. The Survey of Doctoral Recipients — a longitudinal survey that tracks doctorates in the sciences, engineering and humanities biennially — provides useful information on employment patterns, including postdoctoral work. This survey has the potential for illuminating career patterns of biomedical scientists. Thus, the Panel on Estimation Procedures will examine more closely the feasibility of estimating such patterns. Market Conditions This section presents short-term indicators of market conditions: unemployment and underemployment rates, postdoctoral appointments, postgraduation commitments of

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new doctorates, and relative salaries.7 No strong trends have been discerned, although changes in postgraduation commitments and starting salaries suggest that the demand for basic biomedical scientists has been growing more slowly than in earlier years. Unemployment and Underemployment The most commonly used short-term indicator of labor market conditions is the unemployment rate. In labor markets for highly skilled workers, however, the unemployment rate is not as meaningful as an indicator of market conditions. This is because such workers are able to find jobs even in times of weak demand. Thus, the issue is not whether the worker has a job, but whether the job is fully utilizing the worker's skills. For this reason, the committee has also compiled information on underemployment which FIGURE 3-9 Unemployment rates of biomedical and physical sciences Ph.D.s, 1973-1991. See Appendix Table F-8. is defined to include workers who are working part time but would prefer full-time jobs and workers who have jobs that are outside of science and engineering and who indicate they took these jobs because they could not find work in science and engineering. Figure 3-9 and Figure 3-10 summarize these rates. Because concern has been expressed recently about the weak state of demand in the physical sciences, comparable rates for physical scientists are included so that the reader can assess the relative status of biomedical science labor markets as gauged by this indicator. Several conclusions emerge. First, as noted above, unemployment is not a serious problem. Rates of unemployment and underemployment generally hover around 1 percent in each of the fields examined. The data in Figure 3-9 contrast strikingly with the rate for the entire U.S. work force, which has ranged between 4.9 and 6.7 percent during this period (Office of the President of the United States, 1993). FIGURE 3-10 Underemployment rates of biomedical and physical sciences Ph.D.s, 1973-1991. See Appendix Table F-9. Postdoctorates The number of new Ph.D.s with postdoctoral appointments can also reflect labor market conditions. 8 One of the functions of postdoctoral appointments, for example, has been to provide interim positions for new researchers. Given this as one of many functions of postdoctoral appointments, this number can be expected to rise when demand is weak. Figure 3-11 summarizes information on such appointments for new biomedical researchers (i.e., those who received their degrees 4-5 years earlier) for the period 1973-1991. The data show that the fraction of these researchers who are postdoctorates rose dramatically in the 1970s. This strong trend was followed by a smaller, more erratic pattern in the 1980s. These trends, on inspection, do not support the notion of a weakening demand in the biomedical fields in the 1980s. The unusual pattern observed in the 1980s suggests that other factors may have influenced the fraction of recent bio FIGURE 3-11 Fraction of biomedical science Ph.D.s at career age 4-5 on postdoctoral appointments, 1973-1991. See Appendix Table F-10.

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medical Ph.D.s holding postdoctoral appointments in that period. For example, the observed trends may reflect variations in the availability of funding for postdoctorates, with increasing support in the 1970s and increasing constraint in the 1980s. Postgraduation Commitments The postgraduation plans of new doctorates may also reflect market conditions. In particular, the percentage of new doctorates who indicate that they have definite commitments at the time they are completing their requirements for the degree can reflect the strength of demand. When demand is weak this percentage will fall; when demand is strong this percentage will rise. Figure 3-12 summarizes these plans for the period 1975 to 1992. To provide a comparative base, similar information is provided for degree recipients in the physical sci FIGURE 3-12 Fraction of new biomedical and physical sciences Ph.D.s with definite commitments, 1975-1992. See Appendix Table F-11. ences, which are thought to be suffering currently from weak demand. The data show a notable declining trend in this percentage for each of these fields beginning in 1989, but the trend is more pronounced in the physical sciences. Starting Salaries “Starting salaries” are defined as the median salaries of doctorates, age 30-34, who currently hold full-time employment positions (excluding postdoctoral positions). Information regarding the starting salaries of biomedical doctorates relative to comparable salaries for all science and engineering doctorates is presented in Figure 3-13. Since 1983, salaries for these scientists in fields other than the basic biomedical sciences taken as a whole have been growing relatively faster than salaries for basic biomedical sci FIGURE 3-13 Salaries of biomedical science Ph.D.s (age 30-34) who currently hold full-time employment positions (excluding postdoctoral positions) as a percentage of comparable salaries for all scientists and engineers, 1973-1991. See Appendix Table F-12. entists.This suggests that relative demand has been growing more slowly in the biomedical sciences than in other fields of science or engineering combined.9 OUTLOOK FOR BASIC BIOMEDICAL SCIENTISTS The labor market for biomedical scientists defines one dimension of need. Job openings are generated by deaths, retirements, and other types of separation from the biomedical work force. In addition, job openings are also generated by growth in employment demand. These job openings may be filled by recruitment from many talent pools: new doctorate recipients, experienced doctorates from other labor markets or from outside the labor market (including doctorates from abroad), nondoctorates, etc. In this context, need can be defined as filling future job openings to achieve a particular rate of employment growth or to achieve some alternative goal. The target rate of growth or the alternative goal is a policy decision usually made on normative grounds. Given this broad context, the committee examines future employment conditions in an effort to estimate need (approximated by job openings) and our ability to meet this need (measured by new Ph.D.'s entering the biomedical sciences workforce). Because job openings can be filled by recruitment from a variety of talent pools, the reader is cautioned that the committee's indicator of our ability to meet this need represents a lower-bound estimate of this ability. Table 3-3 contains estimates of the future number of job openings to be filled under alternative scenarios about employment growth. Three scenarios are examined: zero growth, 3.6 percent per year (the 1981-1991 compound growth rate for the biomedical science workforce), and 1.8 percent per year (one-half the 1981-1991 compound growth rate). The method used to generate these estimates is a

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TABLE 3-3 Committee Estimates of the Average Annual Number of Job Openings Needed to Sustain Various Growth Rates of the Biomedical Work Force a, b   Zero Growth Rate Scenario Half the Average Growth Rate Scenario c Average Growth Rate Scenario d Year Numbers Needed Numbers Needed Numbers Needed 1996-1997 1291 3358 5473 1998-1999 1714 3691 6031 2000-2001 1991 3915 6506 a Biomedical work force consists of those employed or on postdoctoral appointments in a biomedical field. Data derived from the NRC Survey of Doctorate Recipients, a sample survey. b Based on multistate life table methods. See Appendix G for methodology. c Half the average referred to in footnote d or 1.8 percent. d Refers to biomedical work force's average annual compound growth rate over the past decade or 3.6 percent (4.25 percent, uncompounded). variant of demographic cohort-survival models. It generates flows of workers into and out of this work force, and, on the basis of these flows, it generates estimates of changes in the size of this work force.10 There are, of course, many ways to do multistate life table analysis. The data presented below should be viewed as preliminary work by the committee, which will be explored further by the Panel on Estimation Procedures in the coming months. Estimates are developed for three time periods: 1996-1997, 1998-1999, and 2000-2001. The estimates are very sensitive to the growth rate assumption, varying from 1,291-1,991 in the zero growth scenario to 5,473-6,506 in the 3.6 percent per year growth scenario. The range is substantially narrower for a given growth rate scenario. The modest increases observed over time for a given rate of growth partially reflect the widely expected increases in deaths and retirements in the late 1990s. Except for the zero growth scenario, they also reflect the growth of the biomedical science work force. 11 For comparison purposes, Table 3-4 shows the number of new biomedical Ph.D.s entering the biomedical work force through 1990, estimated from the longitudinal SDR. 12 These numbers represent a substantial fraction of the degree production that occurred in these fields, although it does not reflect the employment outcomes of new graduates who may have found employment in other fields or delayed entry into the work force. An estimated 82 percent of the biomedical Ph.D.s entered the biomedical work force TABLE 3-4 Estimated Number of New Biomedical Science Ph.D.s Entering the Biomedical Science Work Force in Selected Years. Year Number a 1985-1986 2985 1987-1988 3178 1989-1990 3353 a Annual averages. NOTE: “Biomedical science work force” consists of those employed or on postdoctoral appointments in a biomedical field. The Survey of Doctorate Recipients is a sample survey and subject to sampling error. SOURCE: NRC, Survey of Doctorate Recipients. (Biennial)

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(which includes postdoctorates) during the period 1985-1990. This level of work force entry, if maintained, could more than meet the need for zero growth, but it will fall considerably short of the number needed to maintain the annual 1981-1991 growth rate. As noted earlier, however, maintenance of this growth rate may be an unrealistic objective. Universities are unlikely to increase faculty size dramatically in the near future, federal spending on biomedical research is not likely to increase in real terms in the near future, and private sector demand (viz., industry) is not likely to increase rapidly in the near future. The best predictions for economic activity and R&D funding in the near future suggest that demand for basic biomedical scientists will grow slowly at best. Under these circumstances, maintenance of the current rate of entry of Ph.D.s in the biomedical sciences should provide an adequate supply for the years 1996-2001. 13 (See Table 3-3). The NRSA program supports approximately 5,100 predoctoral students each year in the basic biomedical sciences, although only a fraction complete doctoral degrees in the same year as receiving NRSA support. The number of basic biomedical degree recipients in any year having had NRSA support is unknown but presumed to be small. 14 If current levels of predoctoral NRSA support are maintained and projected, demand for new Ph.D.s is estimated to be 3,400-3,900 per year (“half the average” growth rate scenario, see Table 3-4), then the NRSA program in the basic biomedical sciences will contribute to the preparation of doctoral scientists at a rate which future markets will likely absorb. Priority Fields Although market conditions suggest that the demand for basic biomedical scientists may grow more slowly than in the past, we believe that advances in research and continuing requirements to address pressing public health concerns will result in the demand for basic biomedical scientists with quite specific research skills. This does not imply that we need to step up production in all areas; rather, the NRSA mechanism provides an opportunity to increase supply in some areas through relatively small increases in the number of awardees. There is a continuing need to train young scientists who will have skill and expertise in the well-recognized core biomedical disciplines (e.g., biochemistry, microbiology, and pharmacology) as well as broadly based individuals capable of effective interdisciplinary research. Scientists trained in physical and mathematical sciences and engineering and able to apply knowledge in chemistry, physics, materials science, computational mathematics, and computer science to problems of significance in basic and clinical biomedical sciences will also be required. Much of the current excitement and rapid progress in biomedical science lies at the interfaces between genetics, molecular biology, cellular biology, and developmental biology. The NRSA programs in the basic biomedical sciences appropriately emphasize the kinds of interdisciplinary training required to carry out effective research at these interfaces and to apply new findings to problems in human biology. However, it is also necessary to ensure that there is a cadre of scientists who are knowledgeable in fundamental areas of biomedical science that, for whatever reason, are not at the cutting edge of research at the time. This need, which is perhaps less immediately obvious, is well illustrated by the periodic emergence of new infectious diseases (e.g., Legionnaires disease and cryptosporidiosis) and the recrudescence of diseases, such as tuberculosis, caused by antibiotic- and drugresistant strains. ENSURING THE DIVERSITY OF HUMAN RESOURCES Careers in biomedical research remain attractive to women. At present, between 35 and 45 percent of Ph.D.s awarded in the biomedical sciences have been awarded to women. However, the fraction of women in full-time, independent research positions is still disproportionately low. Moreover, evidence suggests that women rise to the top ranks in academia and industry in fewer numbers than men (NRC, 1991 and 1994). Part of the training process should include explicit mentoring to help women achieve their full career potential. We need to do much more to increase the number of black and Hispanic students entering research training in the basic biomedical sciences. Continual efforts to attract these students into the NRSA program must be made. Special programs to ensure progress through pre- and postdoctoral training should be encouraged. The Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) program shows promise as a reliable source of NRSA trainees. THE NRSA PROGRAM IN THE BASIC BIOMEDICAL SCIENCES Earlier committees' assessment of the need for basic biomedical scientists and the level of training that should be provided by the federal government under the NRSA programs depended heavily on its analysis of the academic labor market, because that was the dominant sector both in terms of the number of bioscientists employed and the amount of federally sponsored research performed. The number of individuals receiving Ph.D. degrees in the biomedical sciences and the number holding postdoctoral appointments were taken as indicators of supply. Demand

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indicators were undergraduate and graduate enrollment and the availability of funds for R&D, both of which were perceived to drive the demand for faculty in these fields. Those data, combined with conservative estimates of future trends, were used to make recommendations about the number of trainees needed. When the committee first convened in 1975, it quickly discerned an oversupply of researchers in the biomedical sciences based on trends in academic employment. Although demand for Ph.D. faculty had experienced rapid growth during the 1960s, by the 1970s the number of students was leveling off, federal funding increases were moderating, and the relatively young faculty members hired during the period of peak expansion were suspected to undergo very little attrition in the near future. In its second report, the committee recommended cutbacks amounting to 30 percent in the number of predoctoral fellows supported annually between fiscal year 1975 and fiscal year 1979, from 6,000 to 4,250, and a level of support of 3,200 postdoctoral fellows. These recommendations were based on evidence of reduced growth in the overall demand for biomedical scientists and continue to affirm the vital role played by the training grant and fellowship programs in training high-quality researchers. Subsequent reports in 1978, 1979, and 1981 reiterated these recommended levels and suggested that time was needed to evaluate the effects of these cutbacks and further developments in the labor market before new recommendations could be made. By 1981, the committee discerned signs of improvement in the overall job market for biomedical researchers. Academic employment was expanding slightly, largely because of rising enrollments in the biomedical sciences. R&D funding was also beginning to rise, and most promising was the rapid increase of employment in the new biotechnology industry. The committee foresaw continued, strong demand from both small start-up companies and large established corporations that were entering this business. It also saw good employment prospects in the high-priority fields of biostatistics, toxicology, and epidemiology. Nonetheless, it expressed concern about the continued growth of the postdoctoral pool and recommended that the numbers of pre- and postdoctoral awards remain steady at 4,250 and 3,200, respectively. By 1985 the job market showed clear improvement. For the first time since the reports began, the committee noted a slowing, of postdoctoral buildup. The number of Ph.D.s awarded each year also slowed, and although university faculty employment still remained stable, demand in the biotechnology and genetic engineering industries was growing sharply, at more than 9 percent a year. Although the committee did not expect substantial increases in the number of academic positions in the foreseeable future, it did expect retirements to increase markedly by the mid to late 1990s. In 1989 the study committee projected that an increasing demand for biomedical scientists would exceed the supply through the year 2000. The committee recommended that the level of NRSA predoctoral support be increased to 5,200. The committee also recommended that postdoctoral support be increased gradually as degree production increased. RECOMMENDATIONS Total support for the training of basic biomedical scientists increased from just over 9,000 awards in fiscal 1991 to an estimated 9,630 in fiscal 1993 (Table 3-5). This includes about 630 awards for the undergraduate preparation of minority scholars. Predoctoral support is offered primarily through institutional training grants (traineeships), although a limited number of individual fellowships are available. Postdoctoral support in the form of portable fellowships allows eligible applicants to seek advanced preparation in a wide variety of areas. Postdoctoral training grants have emphasized preparation in such areas as genetics, clinical pharmacology, trauma and burn research, and anesthesiology. In making its recommendations in this area, the committee has assumed that the current ratio of predoctoral and postdoctoral support would remain essentially constant, with the majority of support available at the predoctoral level (primarily in the form of traineeships). Predoctoral Training On the basis of its review of available information describing current and anticipated market conditions and in consideration of pressing national research needs, the committee strongly endorses the continuation of predoctoral NRSA training programs in the basic biomedical sciences. Although evaluative data remain incomplete, the evidence indicates that these predoctoral training programs remain highly effective in fostering the development and sustaining the health of interdisciplinary graduate programs of benchmark quality, and in catalyzing the entry of highly qualified students into graduate training. However, the committee is concerned that the current low level of stipend support, $8,800 per year, will erode the impact of these programs and their ability to attract the most talented students. We recommend that stipends be increased incrementally over a 2-3 year period to $12,000 for all predoctoral awardees. We consider the recommended increase in stipend to be of higher priority than any possible increases in number of trainee slots, and therefore recommend that the number of predoctoral awards remain at FY 1993 levels during this period. The committee recognizes that these recommendations are being made in an era of

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TABLE 3-5 Aggregated Numbers of NRSA Supported Trainees and Fellows in Basic Biomedical Sciences for FY 1991 through FY 1993     Type of Support Fiscal Year Level of Training TOTAL Traineeship Fellowship 1991 Number of awards 9,021 7,199 1,822   Predoctoral 4,593 4,313 280   Postdoctoral 3,861 2,319 1,542   MARC Undergraduate 567 567 - 1992 Number of awards 9,317 7,477 1,840   Predoctoral 4,777 4,487 290   Postdoctoral 3,910 2,360 1,550   MARC Undergraduate 630 630 - 1993 Number of awards 9,633 7,740 1,893   Predoctoral 5,171 4,811 360 a   Postdoctoral 3,836 2,303 1,533   MARC Undergraduate 626 626 - a Includes minority scholars supported through the National Minority Fellowship Program. See Appendix E. NOTE: Based on estimates provided by the National Institutes of Health. See Summary Table 1. fiscal constraint. Should additional funds become available for research training in the basic biomedical sciences, the NIH might wish to consider expanding NRSA support in this area. RECOMMENDATION: The committee recommends that the number of predoctoral trainees and fellows supported annually in the basic biomedical sciences be maintained at 1993 levels or approximately 5,175 each year (Table 3-6). Postdoctoral Training Postdoctoral research training sharpens the technical and intellectual skills of the doctoral-level scientist and provides important (and frequently used) opportunities for cross-disciplinary training as preparation for undertaking a career as an independent investigator. The committee is concerned, however, that persistent low-level stipends may discourage qualified applicants from seeking postdoctoral training through NRSA support. Thus, to permit NIH to introduce further and more realistic changes in stipend levels at the postdoctoral level, the committee recommends that the number of postdoctoral awards be maintained at fiscal 1993 levels (Table 3-6). Should, however, additional program funds become available for postdoctoral training in the basic biomedical sciences, the NIH may also wish to expand support for postdoctoral training. RECOMMENDATION: The committee recommends that the number of postdoctoral trainees and fellows supported annually in the basic biomedical sciences be maintained at 1993 levels or 3,835 each year. Minority Access to Research Careers Current federal efforts to attract minority group members to careers in the basic biomedical sciences include undergraduate support through the MARC program. The core of this program is the Honors Undergraduate Program launched in fiscal 1977 to support college juniors and seniors. In fiscal 1993 approximately 630 individuals received undergraduate support (see Table 3-5). As noted in Chapter 9 of this report, NIH recently initiated an 18-month study of the career outcomes of the MARC program. The committee endorses continuation of funding for this program at current levels to support the training of individuals in the basic biomedical sciences until the NIH assessment is complete and information is made available to subsequent NRC study committees. RECOMMENDATION: The committee recommends that the number of NRSA awards made available through the MARC undergraduate program for research training in the basic biomedical sciences be maintained at about 630 awards each year.

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TABLE 3-6 Committee Recommendations for Relative Distribution of Predoctoral and Postdoctoral Traineeship and Fellowship Awards for Basic Biomedical Sciences for FY 1994 through FY 1999       Type of Support Fiscal Year Level of Training TOTAL Traineeship Fellowship 1994 Recommended number of awards 9,640 7,745 1,895   Predoctoral 5,175 4, 815 360   Postdoctoral 3,835 2,300 1,535   MARC Undergraduate 630 630 - 1995 Recommended number of awards 9,640 7,745 1,895   Predoctoral 5,175 4, 815 360   Postdoctoral 3,835 2,300 1,535   MARC Undergraduate 630 630 - 1996 Recommended number of awards 9,640 7,745 1,895   Predoctoral 5,175 4,815 360   Postdoctoral 3,835 2,300 1,535   MARC Undergraduate 630 630 - 1997 Recommended number of awards 9,640 7,745 1,895   Predoctoral 5,175 4, 815 360   Postdoctoral 3,835 2,300 1,535   MARC Undergraduate 630 630 - 1998 Recommended number of awards 9,640 7,745 1,895   Predoctoral 5,175 4, 815 360   Postdoctoral 3,835 2,300 1,535   MARC Undergraduate 630 630 - 1999 Recommended number of awards 9,640 7,745 1,895   Predoctoral 5,175 4,815 360   Postdoctoral 3,835 2,300 1,535   MARC Undergraduate 630 630 - NOTES 1. The slowdown in the rate of growth between 1989 and 1991 was accompanied by an absolute decline in academia. In part, this may reflect methodological changes that occurred in the Survey at that time. However, it may also reflect a weakening in demand, particularly in the academic sector. 2. Includes both citizens and noncitizens, where citizens includes both native-born and naturalized citizens. 3. Special run, Survey of Doctoral Recipients (SDR). SDR, is a biennial survey of a sample of scientists and engineers conducted by the NRC behalf of the federal government. 4. Special run, SDR. A number of authors have also observed that women are generally underrepresented in tenure-track faculty positions relative to the numbers among doctoral recipients (NRC, 1981; Zuckerman et al., 1992). 5. The Doctorate Records File is a compilation of responses to the Survey of Earned Doctorates, which has been conducted each year since 1958 by the NRC's Office of Scientific and Engineering Personnel and its predecessor organizations. Questionnaires, distributed with the cooperation of the graduate deans of U.S. universities, are filled in by graduates as they complete requirements for their doctoral degrees. The doctorates are reported by academic year and include research and applied-research doctorates in all fields. See Ries and Thurgood, 1993. 6. Much more work is needed to document fully the impact of foreign participation on the U.S. science and technology work force. Owing to the nature of many of our data sources, we are unable to determine at this time how many non-U.S. citizens who earn doctoral degrees in this country remain in the U.S. and we know very little about the careers and research contributions of non-U.S. citizens to the U.S. research effort regardless of the origin of their doctoral degrees.

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7. The Panel on Estimation Procedures considered numerous “short run” indicators such as wage adjustments for young workers relative to older workers, relative tenure-earning ratios, and job openings. However, owing to limitations of time and resources, the Panel and Committee restricted these analyses to more readily available information. 8. The postdoctoral appointment has become an essential component of advanced training in most subfields of the basic biomedical sciences. Past studies by the National Research Council (Garrison and Brown, 1984, for example) have suggested that individuals with postdoctoral training enter more productive research careers than those individuals without postdoctoral training. See Appendix A of this report for a brief summary of the career outcomes studies of NRSA postdoctoral appointees. Nonetheless, the expansion of postdoctoral appointments in the basic biomedical sciences has been identified by some researchers as an indicator of job shortages in some component fields (Coggeshall, et al., 1978; NRC, 1981). 9. An alternative interpretation of this finding is that the relative supply of biomedical scientists increased faster than that of other scientists and engineers. The decline in starting wages would thus result from an increase in relative demand. 10. The flows are generated from multistate life tables. These tables are based on matrices of age-specific transition rates estimated from the Survey of Doctoral Recipients historical data. These rates are assumed to remain constant over time. For a more detailed description of the methodology, see Appendix G. This analysis will be reviewed closely by the Panel on Estimation Procedures along with other approaches to the estimation of national needs relative to human resource training and policies. 11. Recall that in developing these estimates, it is assumed that age-specific separation rates remain stable. There is, however, evidence of a strong positive relationship between these rates and age (NRC, 1989). Given this relationship, the upward trend in the numbers may also be reflecting the expected aging of this population. 12. SDR. See note 3. 13. The estimate is presented as a minimum value because these job openings could also be filled by recruiting workers with degrees and training in closely related fields or workers from abroad. 14. On the basis of information gathered from the National Science Foundation the committee estimates that less than 15 percent of graduate students in the life sciences received NRSA support in FY 1990. REFERENCES Coggeshall, P., J. C. Norvell, L. Bogorad, and R. M. Bock 1978 Changing postdoctoral career patterns for biomedical scientists. Science 202: 487-493. Matyas, M. and L. S. Dix (eds) 1992 Science and Engineering Programs: On Target for Women? Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. National Science Foundation (NSF) 1990 Immigration of Scientists and Engineers to the United States: A Literature Review. Science Resources Studies Division. Mimeographed. March. Washington, D.C. National Research Council (NRC) 1994 The Funding of Young Investigators in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. 1981 Postdoctoral Appointments and Disappointments. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. 1989 Biomedical and Behavioral Research Scientists: Their Training and Supply, Volume I: Findings. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. 1991 Women in Science and Engineering. Increasing Their Numbers in the 1990s. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. 1994 Women Scientists and Engineers Employed in Industry: Why So Few? Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. Office of the President of the United States 1993 Economic Report of the President. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office. Ries, P. and D. H. Thurgood 1993 Summary Report 1992: Doctorate Recipients from United States Universities. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. Zuckerman, H., J.R. Cole, and J.T. Bruer 1991 The Outer Circle: Women in the Scientific Community. New York : W. W. Norton and Company.