Performance Improvement 2001. Addressing the Nation's Changing Needs for Biomedical and Behavioral Scientists


This report, the eleventh in a series that began in 1975, reviews the recent production and current supply of scientists. Unlike earlier studies, it also considers research training mechanisms other than National Research Service Awards (NRSA) training grants and fellowships. A demographic analysis was conducted by the Committee on National Needs for Biomedical and Behavioral Scientists and it conducted a review of such indicators of short-term demand as trends in faculty and industry hiring and perceptions of the job market by recent Ph.D.s. It found that the number of new Ph.D.s awarded annually in the basic biomedical sciences is well above that needed to keep pace with growth in the U.S. economy and that the number of new PH.D.s awarded annually in the behavioral and social sciences is also sufficient and recommended that overall Ph.D. production in these fields should not be increased; they found a decline in the number of M.D.s conducting research while Ph.D.s awarded in clinical science fields have increased at a rate faster than in the biomedical or behavioral sciences. The recommendation to NRSA is to intensify efforts to train and retain physicians until the trend is reversed. There was also a finding for increasing the supply of minority scientists in biomedical and behavioral research and more minority and nonminority investigators turning their attention to disparities in health. The committee recommends improving opportunities for minority studies in secondary schools, an education level outside the scope of the existing NRSA program.

AGENCY SPONSOR: Office of the Director

FEDERAL CONTACT: Dr. Walter Schaffer, 301-435-2770

PIC ID: 4664.1

PERFORMER: National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC