Bridges to Independence:: Fostering the Independence of New Investigators in Biomedical Research

Front Cover

A rising median age at which PhD's receive their first research grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is among the factors forcing academic biomedical researchers to spend longer periods of time before they can set their own research directions and establish there independence. The fear that promising prospective scientists will choose other career paths has raised concerns about the future of biomedical research in the United States. At the request of NIH, the National Academies conducted a study on ways to address these issues. The report recommends that NIH make fostering independence of biomedical researchers an agencywide goal, and that it take steps to provide postdocs and early-career investigators with more financial support for their own research, improve postdoc mentoring and establish programs for new investigators and staff scientists among other mechanisms.

  

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Contents

Introduction
15
COMMITTEE STATEMENT OF TASK
19
A TIME FOR ACTION
24
DEFINITIONS
25
CONTEXT AND BACKGROUND
27
Career Transition Awards
28
Sufficient Resources and Funding Policies
29
Protected Time
30
CHANGES NEEDED IN ACADEMIC RESEARCH INSTITUTIONS
77
Recognize and Reward NonTenureTrack Pathways
78
NEED FOR DATA
79
Optimizing Postdoctoral Training
80
LENGTH OF THE POSTDOCTORAL APPOINTMENT
82
REALLOCATE NIH RESOURCES FOR POSTDOCTORAL SUPPORT
86
INDEPENDENT FUNDING
92
CLARIFYING THE MENTORSHIP RESPONSIBILITIES OF PIs
93

Feedback
31
Need for Data
32
ORGANIZATION OF THE REPORT
33
Where Are We Now?
34
GRANT SUCCESS BY AGE
37
DEMOGRAPHIC DATA
44
GRANT PROPOSALS FROM NEW INVESTIGATORS
50
REVIEW PROCESS
51
RISK TAKING
56
CURRENT AND RECENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR NEW INVESTIGATORS
57
New Investigator Awards from NIH
60
National Science Foundation
63
Other Federal Support for New Investigators
65
European Models
72
Conclusion
73
A Vision for 2010
74
NEW ALLOCATION STRATEGIES AND FUNDING MECHANISMS FOR SUPPORTING POSTDOCTORAL RESEARCHERS
75
New Investigators and the R01 System
76
BROADEN EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES
95
NEED FOR BETTER DATA AND PROGRAM EVALUATION
99
Transition to First Independent Position
102
CAREER TRANSITION RESEARCH GRANTS
103
PROGRAM ASSESSMENT
108
NonTenureTrack Scientists
109
Establishing Stable Research Programs
110
RO1s FOR NEW INVESTIGATORS
111
SUPPORT FOR NONTENURETRACK SCIENTISTS
114
Providing for Enhanced Job Security
115
DATA COLLECTION
117
Conclusion
118
References
121
Committee Statement of Task
125
Workshop Information
127
Acronyms and Abbreviations
145
Committee Member Biographies
148
Copyright

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