Peer review, as conducted by the National Institutes of Health, is not great at determining relative merit among the top 20 to 30 percent of grants. A new paper by Ferric Fang and Arturo Cassadevall expands on their previous proposal to fund meritorious grants by a lottery system rather than continuing to use the rankings […]
Information and data on the trends in the biomedical workforce are not always easy to come by. The National Science Foundation conducts several annual and biannual surveys to assess the numbers of graduate students and postdoctoral scholars, the Ph.D. graduation rate, the demographics of trainee populations and many others. Two new papers present data on […]
Postdoctoral scholars are an important part of the research workforce. As experienced scientists, many postdocs enter a lab and are highly productive after only a short amount of time. However, many groups feel that postdocs are underpaid, relative to their experience and importance to the research enterprise.
Today marks my first day as the director of Rescuing Biomedical Research. RBR is devoted to reforming policies and programs that hinder the pace of research and provide incomplete training to graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. I worked on these issues extensively while with the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and I am […]
Topic: Errors in Science
NIH has a vested interest in publishing the research conducted using its funds even if it validates or refutes (negative result) previous findings. NIH should invest in creating a centralized (online) publishing outlet (free for NIH funded research/researchers) that accepts individual experiments, negative results and validation results with a post-publication review model. Such a model has already been tried in the field of Physics and is enormously successful in cutting down the publication costs…
Topic: Effects of Hypercompetition
It would be wiser to not focus too much on solving the harmful effects of hyper-competition but rather highly focus on solving the hyper-competition itself. Tackling the hyper-competition will automatically alleviate all the harmful effects that arise from hyper-competition.
Topic: Other Topics
I think the ideas articulated by the “gang of four” are good as far as they go, but:
Biomedical research has come up with some fantastic results based mainly on high technology. But that is one – dimensional. It tends to lead to the results that we are observing. Young scientists, especially those at have – not institutions (see above) are not usually able to avail themselves of the expensive high – tech gadgets necessary for such projects.
Topic: Postdoctoral Training
The vast majority of incoming faculty have no background in management and receive no formal mentorship training. I propose a mandatory, structured 5-day training upon new faculty hiring, and another session after earning tenure.
Topic: Postdoctoral Training
We propose that postdocs have access to structured career development and exploration tools, currently available to graduate students at many institutions. Postdocs (and the ir mentors) should be prepared for more than one career outcome. Making myIDP, my Individual Development Plan, an official requirement for postdocs would facilitate this goal.
Topic: Graduate Education
I propose three actions to whittle down the number of PhDs to only the very best pool of future scientists. The overarching theme is to make it more costly to employ graduate students and to raise the standard for admission: