We’re really fortunate here at Terra Sigillata World Headquarters to have a strong, dedicated readership. But I’m always tickled when we attract new readers and attention to the views we express here.
Late yesterday I received a very nice e-mail from Andrew Plemmons Pratt, Managing Editor of Science Progress, a blog of the well-known liberal think tank, Center for American Progress.
In his post, Don’t Bury the Next Generation of Researchers Under Billions in NIH Funding, Andrew notes my enthusiasm in our 23 Feb post for being sure that junior investigators already in the pipeline not be overlooked by stimulus dollars. Moreover, he seized on my suggestion that we not use to much of the stimulus money to overtrain scientists who cannot be absorbed by tenure-track academic positions or other employment requiring a PhD in a biomedical science:
The NIH has about $10 billion from the Recovery and Reinvestment Act to pour into job-creating grants and research infrastructure. The Scientist reports that the new Challenge Grants program will direct $200 million of that money towards areas of high-priority research. One opportunity here, as Abel Pharmboy points out at Terra Sigillata, is for those grants to support the crop of younger researchers who might currently have limited access to the upper echelons of their fields. He writes: “My hope is that review of the current proposal rankings will focus on those junior, tenure-track investigators who have been shortchanged by the worst NIH paylines since the early 90s.”
SP contributor Beryl Benderly tackled precisely this issue in her January piece, reporting that mismanagement of future NIH growth could have devastating ramifications for the long-term health of the research community in the United States
This mismatch between effort and outcome is, according to leading labor force economists, the central obstacle discouraging many of America’s most talented young people from pursuing advanced scientific studies.
Go forth and read these two really nice posts at Science Progress, as well as the rest of their superb offerings:
Change Young Scientists Can Believe In: Time to Finance A New Generation of Researchers
by Beryl Benderly, 30 Jan 2009
Don’t Bury the Next Generation of Researchers Under Billions in NIH Funding
by Andrew Plemmons Pratt, 5 Mar 2009
Many thanks, Andrew!