News Release

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

NIH establishes working group on the future biomedical research workforce

A new working group at the National Institutes of Health will examine the future of the biomedical research workforce in the United States. The group will recommend actions to the Advisory Committee to the Director to ensure a diverse and sustainable biomedical and behavioral research workforce. The working group will consider questions such as:

  • What is the right size of the workforce?
  • What are the appropriate types of positions that should be supported to allow people to have successful careers and to continue to advance biomedical and behavioral sciences?
  • What is the best way to support these various positions?
  • What types of training should be provided?

To do this, the group will gather input from the extramural community, including students, postdoctoral fellows, investigators, scientific societies, and grantee institutions. In addition, the group will develop a model for a sustainable and diverse U.S. biomedical research workforce using appropriate expertise from NIH and external sources. The model can help inform decisions about how to train the optimal number of people for the appropriate types of positions that will advance science and promote health.

"The working group will help lay the foundation for ensuring that we have the biomedical workforce we will need to usher in the next generation of scientific discoveries," NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. said.

External working group on the future biomedical workforce:

Shirley Tilghman, Ph.D., president, Princeton University, N.J., co-chair
Sally Rockey, Ph.D., NIH deputy director for extramural research, co-chair
Sandra Degen, Ph.D., vice president for research, University of Cincinnati
Laura Forese, M.D., chief operating officer, chief medical officer, and senior vice president, New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, New York City
Freeman Hrabowski, Ph.D., president, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
James Jackson, Ph.D., professor of psychology and director, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Leemor Joshua-Tor, Ph.D., professor and dean, Watson School of Biological Sciences, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.
Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Richard Lifton, M.D., Ph.D., Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn.
Garry Neil, M.D., corporate vice president, Corporate Office of Science and Technology, Johnson & Johnson, New Brunswick, N.J.
Naomi Rosenberg, Ph.D., dean, Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston
Bruce A. Weinberg, Ph.D., professor, John Glenn School of Public Affairs, Ohio State University, Columbus
Keith Yamamoto, Ph.D., executive vice dean, School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco

Results from the working group will be presented to the Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD). The ACD advises the NIH Director on policy matters important to the NIH mission of conducting and supporting biomedical and behavioral research, research training, and translating research results for the public. Additional information is available at

The Office of the Director, the central office at NIH, is responsible for setting policy for NIH, which includes 27 Institutes and Centers. This involves planning, managing, and coordinating the programs and activities of all NIH components. The Office of the Director also includes program offices which are responsible for stimulating specific areas of research throughout NIH. Additional information is available at

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

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