Goal 4: Develop Workforce and Resources

Challenges in attracting students to research careers

What are the best methods for NHLBI to contribute to reforms that make careers more attractive to people from disadvantaged backgrounds?

Submitted by (@nhlbiforumadministrator)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Compelling Question (CQ)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

It would potentially increase the diversity of the biomedical research workforce.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Yes, it is feasible, but systemic reform is always challenging.

Pursuing a biomedical research career often involves 5–8 years of graduate education earning very low income (and suffering high opportunity costs), post-doc positions that pay less than some entry-level jobs with an undergraduate degree, and significant career uncertainty (as revealed by the work of Michael Teitelbaum (http://press.princeton.edu/titles/10208.html) and other scholars who have studied the scientific workforce). An undergraduate degree holder contemplating alternative options, such as simply taking a job or pursuing an MBA or a clinical career (MD, PA, physical therapist, etc.), would likely recognize that obtaining a PhD in biomedical science, compared to these alternative options, involves significantly lower lifetime earnings (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK36349/), more deferment of adult milestones, and less career stability. Students from disadvantaged backgrounds may be especially wary of careers that present continued financial struggle and uncertainty. Proposals to modestly increase post-doc pay (from its current $42,000) and to favor training grants over research grants (http://www.pnas.org/content/111/16/5773.full.pdf+html) seem unlikely to change the financial calculus: that pursuing these careers is often a bad financial deal.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : NHLBI Staff

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Goal 4: Develop Workforce and Resources

Making R01 funding work for the Medical Sciences

We need to spread R01 funding around more to ensure that the best science has funding adequate to move forward. To do this I believe changing how we think about R01 funding and expenditures can be used to put the NIH funds to better use. Too often successful researchers have the majority of their salaries on R01s and the institutions have little skin in the game. PI salaries can be a large part of the escalating budget ...more »

Submitted by (@wjones7)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

The impact of spreading the funding would be to improve funding rates, improve funding of new investigators, and supporting more diverse science. Negative impacts would include reduced funding some large labs. In my experience, in some cases, this would be a good thing. There could be special programs and exceptions for large labs that make significant important contributions and serve as resources to reduce negative impact. Review of grants should include information on manuscript retractions and large labs with many retractions should be carefully scrutinized for defunding.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Such changes would have to be made incrementally over time since this will require states and institutions to pick up some of the cost of science and therefore must be phased in to allow for time to adjust the workforce in specific places to align with budgetary constraints. Institutions might be encouraged to do more fundraising to actually support science to fill gaps.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Keith Jones with major input from Pieter de Tombe

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44 up votes
16 down votes
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Goal 4: Develop Workforce and Resources

Better oversight and transparency for diversity in our research portfolio

There needs to be better oversight and transparency for diversity in our research portfolio to include a steady pipeline of young investigators and to facilitate the entry of pediatricians into the research work force. Specifically, workforce diversity should be considered in addition to scientific merit in determining funding priorities.

Submitted by (@nhlbiforumadministrator)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Research Advocacy Committee, American Thoracic Society

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1 up votes
0 down votes
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