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Nobel history illustrates gap in grants to young scientists
Date:1/10/2012

more Ph.D.s than ever before. Is it time to stop?" The Economist, in December, lamented "The disposable academic.") In fact, the Rice paper cites Nature in determining "the lack of funding and positions also indicates that the current American Ph.D. system might need to be re-evaluated."

"We have so many people who are spending almost a whole decade as a postdoc," she said. "These people are getting great educations and then going off to do something non-science-related. We're losing a good proportion of them because they won't likely go back into research."

Universities should consider teaching their science and engineering graduate students more writing and communication skills, including the art of grant writing, to help those who fail to get funding for sheer lack of experience, she said. At the same time, NIH program officers need to be aware that a failure to fund young investigators can also discourage scientists from pursuing high-risk projects.

Matthews said she found sympathetic ears among the Nobel laureates contacted via email by the Rice team. Several revealed that their own proposals for what ultimately became Nobel-winning research were rejected by NIH.

"All of them seemed really supportive of young investigators and the initiatives NIH is putting in place to support them," she said.


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Contact: David Ruth
david@rice.edu
713-348-6327
Rice University
Source:Eurekalert

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