Collaborative Opportunities to Address Clinical Research Workforce Needs for 2010: A Focus on Women and Diversity
The genome project and other scientific developments have put tremendous strain on the clinical research workforce. Clinical research requires the expertise of many kinds of investigators, including physicians, dentists, public health workers, nurses, psychologists, laboratory technicians, dieticians, computer programmers, bio-engineers, and others. Recent evaluations have identified that the number of young principal investigators conducting clinical research is decreasing, and the average age of grantees is increasing. There is a concern that there is not a sufficient crop of new investigators to replace the older generation which is soon to retire. Diversity of the clinical research workforce is also a priority issue.
Careers in Clinical Research, a report addressing similar themes, was published by the Institute of Medicine in 1994, In 1997, the NIH directors panel on Clinical Research also issued recommendations to enhance the training of clinical research. In 1999, the Office of Research in Women's Health, Office of the Director, National Institutes of Health, in conjunction with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and The American Society for Cell Biology, convened "AXXS '99" to explore the roles of scientific societies in advancing science by building the careers of all women in science, from the predoctoral stage to the senior scientist level. This workshop discussed new models for developing and sustaining clinical research investigators who will be successful in the current and future research environment. Reward systems and grant mechanisms that promote teams also were identified. The charge to participants was to identify barriers and offer suggestions for improvement.
This workshop was co-sponsored by the National Research Council's Committee on Women in Science and Engineering (CWSE).