Preparing Our Future Scientific Work Force to Ensure the Success of Science

Friday, February 15, 2013: 1:00 PM-2:30 PM
Room 311 (Hynes Convention Center)
The career trajectory for PhD-level scientists is quite different today than in decades past. With a large (and increasing) supply of young scientists, research positions in both academe and industry are highly competitive. Fortunately, trainees today show interest in a variety of other career paths, including science education, communication, policy, law, and the business of science. The scientific enterprise benefits greatly from having talented PhDs contributing broadly to science and society, but our current educational structure still focuses on preparing PhD-level trainees for “traditional” careers in academic research. As a result, trainees report difficulty in making career decisions, and they lack professional skills valued by nonacademic employers. How can we better prepare trainees for this increasingly diverse career landscape? How might scientific and educational policy help to improve the preparation of our trainees? What economic influences shape such policies? This session aims to address these questions, highlighting economic data and recent reports from the National Institutes of Health director’s working group on the future biomedical work force, as well as from the National Academies’ Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy. We will discuss solutions proposed by these and other groups, issues that challenge policy decisions, and critical needs yet to be addressed.
Bruce M. Alberts, AAAS/Science
Cynthia N. Fuhrmann, University of Massachusetts Medical School
and Bill Lindstaedt, University of California
Bruce M. Alberts, AAAS/Science
Cynthia N. Fuhrmann, University of Massachusetts Medical School
Gregory A. Petsko, Brandeis University
Improving the Career Preparation of Postdoctoral Trainees
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