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The Next Generation of Biomedical and Behavioral Sciences Researchers: Breaking Through (2018)

Chapter: Appendix A: Definitions Used in the Report

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Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Definitions Used in the Report." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. The Next Generation of Biomedical and Behavioral Sciences Researchers: Breaking Through. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25008.
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A

Definitions Used in the Report

Biomedical—The full range of biological, biomedical, behavioral, and health sciences supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Early-Stage Investigator (ESI)—A Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) who has completed their terminal research degree or post-graduate clinical training, whichever date is later, within the past 10 years and who has not previously competed successfully as PD/PI for a substantial NIH independent research award.1 This report also refers to ESIs as early-career investigators.

Early Established Investigator (EEI)—A PD/PI who is within 10 years of receiving their first substantial, independent competing NIH R01 equivalent research award as an ESI.2

Independent Researcher—An individual who enjoys independence of thought—the freedom to define the problem of interest and/or to choose or develop the best strategies and approaches to address that problem. Under this definition, an independent scientist may work alone, as the intellectual leader of a research group, or as a member of a consortium of investigators each contributing distinct expertise. Specifically, we do not intend “independence” to mean necessarily “isolated” or “solitary,” or to imply “self-sustaining” or “separately funded.”

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1 See https://grants.nih.gov/policy/early-investigators/index.htm (accessed February 15, 2018).

2 See https://grants.nih.gov/policy/early-investigators/index.htm (accessed February 15, 2018).

Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Definitions Used in the Report." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. The Next Generation of Biomedical and Behavioral Sciences Researchers: Breaking Through. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25008.
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Postdoctoral Researcher—An individual in a period of mentored transition to independence, providing (1) increasing intellectual control of scientific direction and (2) professional development in skills necessary to lead a research project.

Underrepresented Minorities (URM)—Three racial or ethnic minority groups (blacks, Hispanics, and American Indians or Native Alaskans) whose representation in science and engineering education or employment is smaller than their representation in the U.S. population.3

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3 NSF. Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering 2017. https://www.nsf.gov/statistics/2017/nsf17310/digest/glossary-and-key-to-acronyms/ (accessed February 7, 2018).

Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Definitions Used in the Report." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. The Next Generation of Biomedical and Behavioral Sciences Researchers: Breaking Through. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25008.
×
Page 107
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Definitions Used in the Report." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. The Next Generation of Biomedical and Behavioral Sciences Researchers: Breaking Through. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25008.
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Page 108
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Since the end of the Second World War, the United States has developed the world’s preeminent system for biomedical research, one that has given rise to revolutionary medical advances as well as a dynamic and innovative business sector generating high-quality jobs and powering economic output and exports for the U.S. economy. However, there is a growing concern that the biomedical research enterprise is beset by several core challenges that undercut its vitality, promise, and productivity and that could diminish its critical role in the nation’s health and innovation in the biomedical industry.

Among the most salient of these challenges is the gulf between the burgeoning number of scientists qualified to participate in this system as academic researchers and the elusive opportunities to establish long-term research careers in academia. The patchwork of measures to address the challenges facing young scientists that has emerged over the years has allowed the U.S. biomedical enterprise to continue to make significant scientific and medical advances. These measures, however, have not resolved the structural vulnerabilities in the system, and in some cases come at a great opportunity cost for young scientists. These unresolved issues could diminish the nation’s ability to recruit the best minds from all sectors of the U.S. population to careers in biomedical research and raise concerns about a system that may favor increasingly conservative research proposals over high-risk, innovative ideas.

The Next Generation of Biomedical and Behavioral Sciences Researchers: Breaking Through evaluates the factors that influence transitions into independent research careers in the biomedical and behavioral sciences and offers recommendations to improve those transitions. These recommendations chart a path to a biomedical research enterprise that is competitive, rigorous, fair, dynamic, and can attract the best minds from across the country.

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