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A new data effort to inform career choices in biomedicine

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Science  15 Dec 2017:
Vol. 358, Issue 6369, pp. 1388-1389
DOI: 10.1126/science.aar4638

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  • RE: A new data effort to inform career choices in biomedicine
    • Herbert M Geller, Director, Office of Education, Division of Intramural Research, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, NIH

    There is no doubt that the nation is producing more Ph.D.s than are necessary for replacement of academic faculty, and the likelihood of an expansion of the professoriate is not high. Thus, informing prospective students and postdoctoral fellows of outcomes is important. However, presenting this data at an institutional level may be highly misleading. At any institution, including mine (the intramural research program of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of NIH), the outcomes are wildly disparate amongst the different laboratories: some labs achieve nearly 100% placement of their trainees in academic positions, some none, and most are in between. Presenting aggregate data does not provide insight into this variance. A more nuanced approach, where potential students need to be aware of the outcomes of their particular laboratory are necessary.

    Competing Interests: None declared.