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NIH Presents Biomedical Workforce Implementation Plan

December 14, 2012—The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has committed to developing a comprehensive tracking system for trainees.  These, and other new initiatives for preparing a sustainable and diverse scientific workforce, were presented by the Biomedical Workforce Implementation Team at the Dec. 6 Advisory Committee to the NIH Director (ACD) meeting.  Sally Rockey, Ph.D., deputy director for extramural research, NIH, presented on behalf of the implementation team.

Last year, the ACD established a working group to examine the future of the biomedical research workforce in the United States, and recommendations were presented to the director in [see Washington Highlights, June 15].  Each recommendation has been considered by NIH pre-implementation teams that developed draft strategies for implementation.  Feedback on the drafts was obtained from the NIH institutes’ and centers’ directors to develop the presented implementation strategies.

Several new initiatives will help the NIH continue to assess workforce needs and planning activities: all students and postdocs supported by the NIH will be identified, a Science Experts Network Curriculum Vitae will be developed, the establishment of a unique research identification will be explored, training grant application tables will be automated, and institutions will be encouraged to report aggregate career outcomes of graduate students and postdocs publically.  The NIH also will establish a functional unit to assess the biomedical research workforce and coordinate activities across the institutes and centers. 

Other new initiatives include:

  • Establishing a new grant program to encourage innovative training approaches;
  • Encouraging individual development plans be in place for all trainees;
  • Encouraging the expected duration of NIH grant support for doctoral study to be five years;
  • Increasing postdoctoral research stipends;
  • Increasing the number of NIH Pathway to Independence Awards and Early Independence Awards; and
  • Establishing an ACD working group study on research training of clinician-scientist biomedical workforce.

Several requests for information from the research and research training community are expected to be disseminated by the NIH over the coming months in order to receive feedback regarding implementation.


Jodi B. (Lubetsky) Yellin, PhD
Director, Science Policy
Telephone: 202-828-0485


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