Next Generation Researchers Initiative Working Group
NIH and its stakeholder community have for many years been concerned about the long-term stability of the biomedical research enterprise. Too many researchers vying for limited resources has led to a hypercompetitive environment in which many highly meritorious applications go unfunded. The current environment is particularly challenging for many early- and mid-career investigators.
Over the last several years, NIH has taken numerous steps to balance, strengthen, and stabilize the biomedical research workforce. However, these measures have only taken us so far. To ensure the long-term stability and strength of the U.S. biomedical research enterprise, the pool of NIH-funded researchers must be balanced such that the greatest number of early-stage (ESI)1 and early-established (EEI)2, 3 investigators are enabled to tackle tough research questions to improve the health of all Americans.
To address this challenging issue, NIH has proposed the Next Generation Researchers Initiative (Next Gen): a bold, focused approach to bolster support to ESIs and EEIs through specific funding and evaluation efforts.
The ACD Working Group on the Next Generation Researchers Initiative (ACD Next Gen WG) will provide advice on the development, implementation, and analysis of the Next Gen policy to increase the number of NIH-funded ESIs and EEIs and stabilize the career trajectory of scientists. Consistent with this charge, the ACD Next Gen WG will:
- Advise NIH leadership on the development of a trans-NIH Next Gen policy;
- Review independent assessments to identify evidence-based metrics for research productivity, and determine the impact of NIH grant support on scientific progress;
- Provide advice and recommendations on approaches for developing or enhancing NIH funding mechanisms aimed at ESIs and EEIs;
- Propose recommendations for tracking and assessing funding decisions for ESIs and EEIs with fundable scores to ensure the Next Gen is effectively implemented in all areas of research;
- Assure alignment of recommendations for the opportunities and needs of ESIs and EEIs with the work of other ACD and internal NIH WGs regarding the demographics of workforce, age, sex, ethnic/racial diversity, MDs vs. PhDs;
- Review analyses to assess the impact of the Next Gen policy on the overall NIH scientific portfolio and workforce trends.
In carrying out its charge, the working group will need to engage individuals at every career stage, as well as research institutions and other stakeholders, to ensure that the Next Gen policy is effective in its goal of providing long-term stability and strength to the U.S. biomedical research enterprise.
- Meeting summaries will serve as record of ACD Next Gen WG activities and decisions and will be provided routinely to members.
- The ACD Next Gen WG will determine when formal reports are necessary, except when requested at the direction of the NIH Director.
- The ACD Next Gen WG will report on progress at each public meeting of the full ACD.