You can find a PDF copy of the statement below here.
Information on the biomedical labor market is necessary both for the formulation of policies that ensure its sustainable future as well as for informing individual career decisions.
Despite repeated calls (beginning at least as early as 1969) information on the career outcomes of life sciences graduate students and postdocs has remained poor or altogether unavailable. This has recently been discussed in an effort coordinated by Rescuing Biomedical Research and spearheaded by existing efforts to track career outcomes of PhDs, particularly NIH’s BEST Consortium. These efforts are currently focused on graduate programs and PhD outcomes, and do not currently encompass data collection on postdocs.
Today’s announcement in Science that a coalition of universities pledges to release information on all of their biomedical graduate students AND postdocs represents an unprecedented watershed moment. Previous efforts have been driven by prominent advisory committees, individuals, or other groups, but in this case, strong leadership is coming from within universities themselves.
The information to be released includes:
- Admissions and matriculation data of Ph.D. students
- Median time to degree and completion data for Ph.D. programs
- Demographics of Ph.D. students and postdoctoral scholars by gender, underrepresented minority status, and citizenship
- Median time in postdoctoral status at the institution
- Career outcomes for Ph.D. and postdoctoral alumni, classified by job sector and career type
FoR congratulates UCSF, Johns Hopkins, University of Wisconsin, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, University of Pennsylvania, University of Maryland, Cornell University, Duke University, MIT, and University of Michigan. for leading this movement. We urge other universities to join the NGLS coalition to demonstrate their commitment to transparency and stewardship of the biomedical research enterprise. Some of these institutions have already been leading the way on this issue, in particular the University of Michigan has reported out such data and has an interactive dataset where you can actually look at various program outcomes within the Rackham Graduate School.
The coalition has laid out a roadmap with important milestones for releasing trainee information in a progressive fashion between now and 2019. We will be eagerly watching and celebrating this progress, and we will provide resources to help students and postdocs locate the data.