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AAMC Comments on NIH Biomedical Workforce Implementation Plan

April 26, 2013—The AAMC April 19 submitted comments in response to a National Institutes of Health (NIH) request for information (RFI) on the implementation of the recommendations of the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director (ACD) Working Group on the Biomedical Research Workforce.  The NIH specifically sought information relating to several new initiatives that were presented by the Biomedical Workforce Implementation Team at the Dec. 6 ACD meeting for preparing a sustainable and diverse scientific workforce [see Washington Highlights, Dec. 14, 2012].

The AAMC comments affirm “that successful outcomes from graduate studies and postdoctoral training reside in a variety of career paths, and [AAMC] agrees with the ACD and its working groups that NIH training programs and policies should reflect that reality.”  AAMC also supports “providing the most current and comprehensive data on training experiences and outcomes to the research community so that the design of graduate programs can be informed by these data and young scientists can make informed decisions about career choice.”

The letter calls for the NIH to require individual development plans (IDPs) for all trainees.  In addition, the AAMC reiterates some of its previous comments made to the workforce working group, noting that while attention should continue to focus on ways to accelerate time to degree, training should be “based on competences and not on the calendar” [see Washington Highlights, Oct. 14, 2011].

The NIH also requested information relating to support of investigator salaries on grants.  The AAMC letter notes that individual institutions have been tracking the severe impacts from the recent lowering of the salary cap on grants, which runs contrary to several high-level federal reviews urging agencies to cover more fully the costs of sponsored research. The letter states, “Limiting the consideration of how cost shifting would directly affect the training mission without considering the larger research environment in which they are an essential component, is myopic.” 

AAMC collected input for the comments from the leadership of the AAMC Graduate Research, Education, and Training (GREAT) Group as well as the AAMC Group on Research Advancement and Development (GRAND).


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


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