With research funding stretched tight, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology-led group of researchers writes at eLife that this lack of support could lead to a 'lost generation' of scientists.
This 'lost generation' might include "talented scientists who either leave the profession entirely, or who stay but acquire the cynicism and short-term thinking that hinders progress," MIT's Christin Glorioso and colleagues write. "While all researchers are being affected by the decline in funding, early-career researchers such as postdoctoral fellows and new investigators are being hit hardest."
The authors add that they formed the Academics for the Future of Science to highlight the experiences of early-career researchers, and they've amassed storied from postdocs and new investigators.
One story the group shares at eLife recounts the experiences of 'Dr. B' whose PhD mentor won a major award, partly based on Dr. B's work, which was called 'innovative.' Despite that, when Dr. B struck out on her own, she was unable to get funding. She says the US National Institutes of Health told her that her work was too pre-clinical, while the National Science Foundation told her that it was too clinical. Eventually she secured an award, but "all that time I hated the panic of wondering if I would lose my job the next year for lack of funding." She resigned and now works for a technology start-up company.
Glorioso and colleagues write that this lack of stability is an issue and that researchers and their advocates need to share such first-hand accounts as well as reach out to their political representatives.
H/T: Retraction Watch