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.


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.

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