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Boosting the Biomedical Workforce

The National Institutes of Health has been busy taking steps to implement new policies and measures aimed at bolstering the nation's biomedical research workforce and encouraging young scientists, NIH's Sally Rockey says at her Rock Talk blog.

In the two years since an advisory committee issued a set of recommendations for nurturing the national biomedical workforce, NIH has moved to enact many of them, Rockey says.

This year, she says, NIH has increased postdoc stipends and has started collecting data from 155 institutions about postdoc benefits and plans to analyze that information this fall.

Additionally, NIH has reissued the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award funding opportunity, which supports research training for doctoral students pursuing biomedical research and professional health degrees, Rockey says.

It also is working to develop "simple and comprehensive tracking systems for trainees," to refine its SciENcv researcher profile system, and to collect information about all the students and postdocs who are working on NIH grants.

NIH has been working to create an office at NIH to assess the biomedical research workforce, in line with another of the biomedical workforce report's recommendations. It has started recruiting staff for a planned Division of Biomedical Research Workforce, including people to analyze workforce investments and training programs and for a person to lead the division.