Bringing the US Biomedical Research Establishment into Equilibrium

The need is great, and the time is now. The recent PNAS article “Rescuing US biomedical research from its systemic flaws” should be studied and discussed by individuals, educational and research institutions, and scientific societies. There may be no more, or fewer, sacred cows in biomedical research — and many oxen may be gored as well.

The paragraph below is reprinted from an AAMC newsletter of April 17, 2014.

Bruce Alberts, Marc Kirschner, Shirley Tilghman, and Harold Varmus describe specific ways for “rescuing U.S. biomedical research from its systematic flaws” in this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. They write, “The long-held but erroneous assumption of never-ending rapid growth in biomedical science has created an unsustainable hypercompetitive system that is discouraging even the most outstanding prospective students from entering our profession-and making it difficult for seasoned investigators to produce their best work. This is a recipe for long-term decline, and the problems cannot be solved with simplistic approaches.” The authors suggest reforms on the funding of graduate students, postdoc compensation, and peer review. They also would reconsider rules on indirect facilities cost reimbursement and salary support on research project grants.

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