Universities launch initiative to improve transparency around biomedical Ph.D. careers

Today, nearly a dozen university presidents announced the formation of the Coalition for Next Generation Life Sciences (publication; website), which is committed to collecting and publishing data on demographics and career outcomes of biomedical Ph.D.s and postdocs. Rescuing Biomedical Research has worked with many CNGLS members and members of the National Institutes of Health’s Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training consortium to develop common methods of data collection and a unified taxonomy for data presentation on the careers of Ph.D.s.

As stated in the article:

Our hope is that these commitments will lead to a number of salutary effects. Public data on Ph.D. programs, training periods, and career outcomes will enable prospective Ph.D. students and trainees to make better decisions about their training and careers at a much earlier point than at present. Beyond that, at the individual university or institute level, open data will facilitate more responsible system stewardship. These data will, we predict, encourage institutions to make evidence-based reforms that enhance the effectiveness of their training programs, in areas such as curricula, career development programming, and faculty mentoring.

The universities involved in the CNGLS are Johns Hopkins University, Cornell University, Duke University, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of California, San Francisco, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, the University of Michigan, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Improving the transparency in career outcomes of biomedical Ph.D.s is a recommendation that has been made many times over the past two decades. Due to the advent of social media and university offices dedicated to supporting trainees, and now the formation of a coalition of universities devoted to improving transparency in career outcomes, the community has a clear path toward fulfilling this long-standing recommendation.