Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) and Susan Collins (R-Me.) have introduced a bill aimed at supporting new scientific investigators.
In an op-ed at the Huffington Post, Baldwin notes that the average age of researchers receiving their first grant from the National Institutes of Health has climbed to 42-years from 36-years old in 1980, and they spend longer and longer lengths of time in training.
"Unfortunately, too many of our talented young scientists are deciding to do something else, or are leaving the country to pursue their research," she writes. "Simply put, scientific and medical innovation depends on our ability to foster, support, and invest in these new researchers."
With their Next Generation (NextGen) Researchers Act, Baldwin and Collins aim to increase opportunities for new investigators, limit their school debt, and more. The proposed act, Baldwin adds, would create a Next Generation Researchers Initiative within the NIH Office of the Director to promote and organize NIH policies and opportunities for new researchers, especially ones that encourage earlier independence. The proposal also calls for in increase in the level of loans that may be forgiven through NIH's loan repayment programs.
"At a time when America's young researchers are facing the worst funding in decades, our best and brightest minds deserve to know that our country stands with them and is committed to building a stronger future," Baldwin adds.