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Suggested Citation:"Mobility of Life Scientists." National Research Council. 1970. The Life Sciences: Recent Progress and Application to Human Affairs The World of Biological Research Requirements for the Future. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9575.
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THE WORLD OF BIOLOGICAL RESEARCH by 178 microbiologists and 107 pharmacologists. The low representation of other disciplines among investigators in industry is somewhat discon- certing. For example, only two embryologists, three anatomists, four cell biologists, four ecologists, eight animal pathologists, 10 biophysicists, 13 botanists, and 25 zoologists reported that they were in the employ of some industrial establishment. Finally, in this regard, it should be remarked that of the 12,151 life scientists responding, 442 had obtained Ph.D.'s in chemistry and 114 in other fields of the physical sciences (about one half in physics), while 105 individuals were originally educated as psychologists. (No questionnaires were sent to individual practicing research psychologists or to the chairmen of either psychiatry or psychology departments.) The employment dis- tribution of these 662 converts to the life sciences among institutions of higher learning, the federal government, industry, and other organizations was much like that of the groups described earlier. MOBILITY OF LIFE SCIENTISTS Geographic mobility, so prominently a characteristic of American society, is nowhere more evident than in the scientific community. As shown in Table 8, scientists born in each of the standard census regions can currently be found in each of the other census regions. Presumably, the direction of these migrations is dictated largely by increasing employment opportuni- ties. This is particularly evident in the considerable migration from all other census regions to the Pacific Coast region and the South Atlantic region. Of at least equal interest, however, is the even greater tendency for relocation to regions likely to produce the least "cultural shock." Not only is there the expected tendency of a substantial fraction of all scientists in all census regions to remain within the states or census regions within which they were born, but the most frequent move from one region to another has been to an adjoining area where life patterns are similar-e.g., from the lower South to the upper South, or within the Midwest. For the entire population of life scientists, the average length of employ- ment in the current position was 9.6 years, with the median 6 to 7 years. Fifty-five percent of all respondents had held at least one previous position with a different employer, quite apart from any number of postdoctoral appointments. The average length of employment in that previous position was 4.7 years, and the median was 3 to 4 years. Although 90.5 percent of all such moves had been made after less than 10 years with the previous employer, employment translocation was reported by some scientists even after as long as 40 years with the initial employer.

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