From JAMA: Supporting the Next Generation of Biomedical Researchers

By Ron Daniels, JD, LLM1; Victor Dzau, MD2

Throughout the past 2 decades, numerous commissions, task forces, and study groups have grappled with the challenges confronting the next generation of scientists in the US biomedical research enterprise. Yet, the challenges remain largely unaddressed. A declining percentage of grants are going to young scientists, who may spend many years in postdoctoral positions with low pay and with no guarantee of mentorship or career development.1 Often, these young scientists do not receive training that exposes them to a wide range of research career options. Issues regarding diversity and representation in the workforce persist; for instance, the average total grant size for women is $75 000 less than for men,2 and there is a disproportionately low representation of women and minorities among faculty members in the biomedical sciences.3

Other problems include hypercompetition for research funding, a growing gap between the increasing number of young scientists who are qualified for and interested in becoming academic researchers and the limited number of tenure-track research positions available, and lack of data on the career outcomes of young researchers, which has prevented students and trainees from making informed decisions about their career options. Broadly, these persistent trends diminish the prospects for recruiting the best minds from all sectors of the US population to careers in biomedical research.

Read more in JAMA.