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April 25, 2018

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Strengthening Biomedical Research Workforce: National Academies Releases Recommendations

The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine has released Breaking Through: The Next Generation of Biomedical and Behavioral Sciences Researchers, a report containing recommendations to ensure that the US has the scientific workforce needed to face 21st-century infectious disease challenges.  This report adopted many of IDSA’s proposals, and IDSA is urging the federal government to maintain and strengthen its investment in the biomedical research workforce.

The congressionally requested report calls for substantial reforms to strengthen the US biomedical research system for the next generation of scientists. It includes recommendations to open career paths for early career scientists, broaden responsibility among public and private stakeholders for the future of the research ecosystem, and increase policy experimentation and investment to empower innovation. Recommendations were informed by five commissioned international reports and Dear Colleague responses from the biomedical research community.

Barriers that have impeded prior reform efforts to date include: a lack of shared guardianship between the federal government and research institutions, constrained funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and a lack of data on the career outcomes of young researchers, which has prevented students and trainees from making informed decisions about their career options. The report offers a series of recommendations to Congress, NIH, and research institutions to overcome these barriers and create the conditions for sustained change.

IDSA has long championed opportunities for ID physician-scientists and applauds the National Academies for developing this report. We will continue to advocate for federal support to sustain and increase our national investment in the biomedical research workforce.

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