Created by on 10/15/2012 12:00:00 AM

On October 5th, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) President Judith S. Bond, PhD met with National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins, MD, PhD, to discuss FASEB comments on the NIH task force reports on the biomedical workforce and diversity. Also participating in the discussion were three senior NIH staff members from the Director’s office.
Dr. Bond stated that FASEB and its member societies shared the taskforce’s concern about the future of the biomedical workforce and described the Federation’s extensive discussion about the NIH report on this topic. She explained that FASEB supports a majority of the recommendations and concurs with NIH’s commitment to improving and broadening the training experience. However, rather than focusing on the training grant mechanism to enhance training quality, FASEB favors system-wide changes. Increasing the proportion of graduate students supported by training grants and fellowships compared to those supported by research project grants, without increasing the overall number of graduate student positions, would entail a reduction in the number of students trained on research grants, decreasing productivity and innovation. It might also diminish the research and training activities of exceptional investigators at specialized institutions.
In the discussion of the task force report on diversity, Dr. Bond complemented the authors for their passion and commitment to this issue, which is in the best interest of the nation and the future of biomedical research. FASEB supports the overwhelming majority of the recommendations from the June 13th report.
At the end of the meeting, Dr. Bond noted FASEB’s efforts to educate the public about research supported by NIH. Dr. Collins expressed his appreciation for the NIH state factsheets that FASEB created this spring, and Dr. Bond presented copies of the district factsheets that had been released earlier in the week. She also described the new Stand Up for Science Competition as another example of FASEB’s continuing advocacy on behalf of NIH.