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Trends in the Early Careers of Life Scientists (1998)

Chapter: Front Matter

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1998. Trends in the Early Careers of Life Scientists. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6244.
×

Trends in the Early Careers of Life Scientists

Committee on Dimensions, Causes, and Implications of Recent Trends in the Careers of Life Scientists

Board on Biology

Commission on Life Sciences

Office of Scientific and Engineering Personnel

National Research Council

National Academy Press
Washington, DC
1998

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1998. Trends in the Early Careers of Life Scientists. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6244.
×

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20418

NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competence's and with regard for appropriate balance.

This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine.

This project was supported by Contract No. N01-OD-4-2139 between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Institutes of Health, Grant No. BIR-9512867 from the National Science Foundation, Grant No. APP 0589 from the Burroughs Welcome Fund, and by the Academy-Industry Program of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the organizations or agencies that provided support for this project.

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 98-87338

International Standard Book Number 0-309-06180-6

Additional copies of this report are available from:
National Academy Press
2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Box 285 Washington, DC 20055 800-624-6242 202-334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area) http://www.nap.edu

Copyright 1998 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

Printed in the United States of America

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1998. Trends in the Early Careers of Life Scientists. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6244.
×

Committee on Dimensions, Causes, and Implications of Recent Trends in the Careers of Life Scientists

Shirley Tilghman (Chair),

Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey

Helen S. Astin,

University of California, Los Angeles, California

William Brinkley,

Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas

Mary Dell Chilton,

Ciba-Geigy Biotechnology, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina

Michael P. Cummings,

Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, Massachusetts

Ronald G. Ehrenberg,

Cornell University, Ithaca, New York

Mary Frank Fox,

Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia

Kevin Glenn,

Searle, St. Louis, Missouri

Pamela J. Green,

Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan

Sherrie Hans,

The Pew Charitable Trusts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Arthur Kelman,

North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina

Jules LaPidus*,

Council of Graduate Schools, Washington, DC

Bruce Levin,

Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia

J. Richard McIntosh,

University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado

Henry Riecken,

University of Pennsylvania (emeritus)

Paula E. Stephan,

Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia

Commission on Life Sciences Liaison

Ursula W. Goodenough,

Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri

Adviser

Douglas E. Kelly,

Association of American Medical Colleges, Washington, DC

Staff

Porter E. Coggeshall

Karen Greif

Charlotte V. Kuh

Alvin G. Lazen, Staff Project Director

Molla Teclemariam

James A. Voytuk

Norman Grossblatt, Editor

Kit W. Lee, Senior Project Assistant

*  

until March 1997

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1998. Trends in the Early Careers of Life Scientists. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6244.
×

Committee on Dimensions, Causes, and Implications of Recent Trends in the Careers of Life Scientists Liaison Group

National Science Foundation,

Arlington, Virginia

Jim Edwards

Joanne Hazlett

Carlos Kruytbosch

National Institutes of Health,

Bethesda, Maryland

Jeffrey Evans

John Norvell

Walter Schaffer

Vanderbilt Institute for Public Policy Studies,

Nashville, Tennessee

Georgine Pion

Association of American Medical Colleges,

Washington, DC

Jennifer Sutton

Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology,

Bethesda, Maryland

Howard Garrison

Council of Graduate Schools,

Washington, DC

Peter Syverson

The American Society for Cell Biology,

Bethesda, Maryland

Elizabeth Marincola

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1998. Trends in the Early Careers of Life Scientists. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6244.
×

Commission on Life Sciences

Thomas D. Pollard (Chairman),

The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, California

Frederick R. Anderson,

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, Washington, DC

John C. Bailar III,

University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois

Paul Berg,

Stanford University, Stanford, California

Joanna Burger,

Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey

Sharon L. Dunwoody,

University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin

John L. Emmerson,

Fishers, Indiana (retired)

Neal L. First,

University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin

Ursula W. Goodenough,

Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri

Henry W. Heikkinen,

University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, Colorado

Hans J. Kende,

Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan

Cynthia J. Kenyon,

University of California, San Francisco, California

David M. Livingston,

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts

Thomas E. Lovejoy,

Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC

Donald R. Mattison,

University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Joseph E. Murray,

Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts

Edward E. Penhoet,

Chiron Corporation, Emeryville, California

Malcolm C. Pike,

Norris/USC Comprehensive Cancer Center, Los Angeles, California

Jonathan M. Samet,

Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland

Charles F. Stevens,

The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, California

John L. VandeBerg,

Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research, San Antonio, Texas

Staff

Paul Gilman, Executive Director

Alvin G. Lazen, Associate Executive Director

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1998. Trends in the Early Careers of Life Scientists. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6244.
×

Board on Biology

Michael T. Clegg (Chairman),

University of California, Riverside, California

David Eisenberg,

University of California, Los Angeles, California

Gerald D. Fischbach,

Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts

David J. Galas,

Darwin Molecular Corporation, Bothell, Washington

David V. Goeddel,

Tularik, Inc., South San Francisco, California

Arturo Gomez-Pompa,

University of California, Riverside, California

Corey S. Goodman,

University of California, Berkeley, California

Margaret G. Kidwell,

University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona

Bruce R. Levin,

Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia

Olga F. Linares,

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Miami, Florida

Elliott M. Meyerowitz,

California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California

Robert T. Paine,

University of Washington, Seattle, Washington

Ronald R. Sederoff,

North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina

Daniel Simberloff,

University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee

Robert R. Sokal,

State University of New York, Stony Brook, New York

Shirley M. Tilghman,

Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey

Raymond L. White,

University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah

Ex Officio

Thomas Pollard,

The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, California

Staff

Paul Gilman, Acting Director

Tania Williams, Program Officer

Amy Noel O'Hara, Project Assistant

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1998. Trends in the Early Careers of Life Scientists. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6244.
×

Office of Scientific and Engineering Personnel Advisory Committee

M. R. C. Greenwood (Chair),

University of California, Santa Cruz, California

David Breneman,

University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia

Nancy Cantor,

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Carlos Gutierrez,

California State University, Los Angeles, California

Stephen J. Lukasik,

Los Angeles, California

Barry Munitz,

California State University, Long Beach, California

Janet Norwood,

The Urban Institute, Washington, DC

John D. Wiley,

University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin

Tadataka Yamada,

SmithKline Beecham Corporation, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

A. Thomas Young,

North Potomac, Maryland

Ex Officio

William H. Miller,

University of California, Berkeley, California

Staff

Charlotte V. Kuh, Executive Director

Catherine Jackson, Administrative Assistant

Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1998. Trends in the Early Careers of Life Scientists. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6244.
×

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences.

The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering.

The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine.

The National Research Council (NRC) was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and of advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing service to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1998. Trends in the Early Careers of Life Scientists. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6244.
×

This report has been reviewed by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council's (NRC) Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the authors and the Research Council in making their published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The content of the review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report:

Michael Clegg, University of California, Riverside, California

Marye Ann Fox, The University of Texas, Austin, Texas

Donald Fredrickson, former director, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland

Lyle V. Jones, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Thomas J. Kennedy Jr., formerly with the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, and the Association of American Medical Colleges, Washington, DC

William Lennarz, State University of New York, Stony Brook, New York

Jeremy Nathans, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Baltimore, Maryland

John Perkins, University of Texas Southwest Medical Center, Dallas, Texas

Ann Peterson, W. K. Kellogg Foundation, East Battle Creek, Michigan

Thomas Pollard, The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, California

Ann Preston, State University of New York, Stony Brook, New York

Paul Risser, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon

Lee Sechrest, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona

Allan Sprading, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Baltimore, Maryland

Michael Teitelbaum, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, New York, New York

Raymond White, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah

John Wiley, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin

William Zumeta, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington

Although the individuals listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, responsibility for the final content of this report rests solely with the authoring committee and the National Research Council.

Several of the reviewers listed above have published papers on PhD workforce issues; see, for example, Dr. Kennedy's 1994 paper, "Graduate Education in the Biomedical Sciences: Critical Observations on Training for Research Careers," in Academic Medicine (69:10).

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1998. Trends in the Early Careers of Life Scientists. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6244.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1998. Trends in the Early Careers of Life Scientists. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6244.
×

Preface

The National Research Council has regularly reported on issues of the scientific and engineering workforce, including questions related to the education, training, and deployment of scientific personnel. It actively maintains files on doctoral awards and periodically surveys their employment in science. The Council's interest in this arena is based on the importance of scientific research to the nation's welfare, and that is also the reason for interest in support of the education and training of life scientists.

That support has chiefly come from three federal agencies: the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the US Department of Agriculture; numerous private foundations and public and private universities have also contributed. The US Congress has manifested interest in questions of supply of and demand for trained scientists in biomedical and behavioral science by establishing the National Research Service Award program at NIH, which provides funding explicitly for training scientists, and by requesting a periodic report from the National Academy of Sciences on national needs for biomedical and behavioral research personnel. Other agencies support life-science education and research through separate programs. Thus, this report, by the Committee on Dimensions, Causes, and Implications of Recent Trends in the Careers of Life Scientists, in the Board on Biology of the Research Council's Commission on Life Sciences, deals with issues that are pertinent to the agendas of a very wide array of agencies and institutions.

The committee was charged to examine trends in research careers of life scientists in training, at the conclusion of training, and in the years immediately after training and to examine the implication of these trends for the persons involved and for the health of the life-science enterprise. The committee's goal was to frame recommendations that would be beneficial both to the young aspirants to scientific careers and to the enterprise they had committed to. The committee recognized that it was dealing with interdependencies among educators, trainees, investigators, funders, and entrepreneurs that truly constituted a sociotechnical system of great complexity. The importance of established stakes in the status quo quickly became apparent, and the committee recognized that there was no single locus of power to make changes in the system that has produced undesirable outcomes for some young scientists. If change is to occur, it will be through the uncoordinated action of many persons at many institutions who try to consider what is best for their students and their profession and then take appropriate action.

Those insights tempered any ambition that the committee might initially have had to "reform" the system overnight by taking bold measures. The risk of doing more damage than good is great, given the complexity of the educational system, the size of the enterprise, and its importance for the nation's long-term interest. Accordingly, the committee's principal recommendations are measured rather than dramatic.

The committee appointed to prepare this report was intentionally composed of individuals with a broad range of backgrounds and experience. To be sure, 10 of them were life scientists, but their occupations and scientific expertise were diverse. Five of the 10 were tenured full professors at major universities, one a postdoctoral fellow, and one a graduate student at the time of their appointment. Two were employed in industry. Among the nonbiologists, bringing experience in studies of the scientific labor force and scientific careers and a distance from direct interest in life-science research were two

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1998. Trends in the Early Careers of Life Scientists. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6244.
×

economists, two psychologists, and a sociologist. The age range of the members was from the middle twenties to the middle seventies. Two department heads, a vice president for academic programs and planning, a dean of a graduate school, and a director of a research institute brought academic administrative viewpoints to the deliberations. (See appendix A for biographic sketches of the committee members.) In short, the interests of very nearly all the ''stakeholders" in the life-science enterprise were represented on the committee. Such diverse outlooks richly widened the arena of discussion and were mutually educative. They also tended to slow any rush to judgment until a true consensus could be achieved.

To ensure that even the broad spectrum of views found among the committee members was enriched by outside views, we invited representatives of government and professional associations to testify before us. And we convened a public meeting at which 18 speakers presented their views and more than 50 other persons attended the meeting or made their views known through written comments. Appendix B contains the names of the speakers and other participants in this activity. A liaison group of government and scientific-organization data experts was asked to provide reactions to our early collections of data; we established contact with institutions performing relevant studies and used the information they provided. The members of the liaison group are listed after the committee roster.

Attached to this report is an alternative perspective on the committee's recommendation 3, regarding training grants. All members of the committee except the author of the alternative perspective endorsed recommendation 3 after extensive discussion at several committee meetings.

We have many other people to thank for assistance in accomplishing our task. Persons who in many instances gave up parts of their weekends to share their knowledge with the committee are Ruth Kirschstein, Walter Schaffer, John Norvell, and James Onken, of NIH; Mary Clutter and Joanne Hazlett, of NSF; Douglas Kelly, Jennifer Sutton, and Stanley Ammons, of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), Mary Jordan, of the American Chemical Society; and Roman Czujko, of the American Institute of Physics. Participants in and contributors to our public meeting are listed in appendix B. Walter Schaffer, of NIH, and James Edwards, of NSF, were extremely helpful in their roles as program officers on behalf of their agencies. Data were made available by and useful discussions held with John Norvell, of NIH; Lawrence Burton of NSF; Lisa Sherman and Brooke Whiting, of AAMC; Georgine Pion, of Vanderbilt University; and Thomas J. Kennedy Jr. Edward O'Neill and Renee Williard, of the University of California, San Franciso (UCSF) Center for the Health Professions, provided us with their report on Pew scholars in the biomedical sciences, and the BioMedical Association of Stanford University, and the Postdoctoral Scholars Association of UCSF shared the results of their surveys of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

Page xiii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1998. Trends in the Early Careers of Life Scientists. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6244.
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The committee's task would have been immeasurably harder without the constant logistic, managerial, and professional support of Al Lazen, Porter Coggeshall, James Voytuk, Karen Greif, Charlotte Kuh, and Molla Teclemariam. At every stage of our work, these dedicated National Research Council staff prepared material for our enlightenment, responded to requests for more help, and took a constructive part in our meetings; they deserve no blame and much credit for our report.

Shirley Tilghman

Chair, Committee on Dimensions, Causes, and Implications of Recent Trends in the Careers of Life Scientists

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 1998. Trends in the Early Careers of Life Scientists. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/6244.
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In each year between 1994 and 1996, more than 7,000 individuals received a Ph.D. in life-science, and the number of graduates is rising sharply. If present trends continue, about half of those graduates will have found permanent positions as independent researchers within ten years after graduation. These statistics--and the labor market situation they reflect--can be viewed either positively or negatively depending on whether one is a young scientist seeking a career or an established investigator whose productivity depends on the labor provided by an abundant number of graduate students.

This book examines the data concerning the production of doctorates in life-science and the changes in the kinds of positions graduates have obtained. It discusses the impact of those changes and suggests ways to deal with the challenges of supply versus demand for life-science Ph.D. graduates. Trends in the Early Careers of Life Scientists will serve as an information resource for young scientists deciding on career paths and as a basis for discussion by educators and policymakers as they examine the current system of education linked to research and decide if changes in that system are needed.

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