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Biomedical Scientific Workforce: Final Report

Download the Final Report on the Biomedical Research Enterprise

Community Message:

Dear Johns Hopkins University Community:

Late last year, the Committee on the Biomedical Scientific Workforce issued a draft report on the opportunities and challenges facing the biomedical research enterprise at Johns Hopkins University. To our knowledge, this report was the first of its kind at a U.S. research university. It involved more than a year of research, consultations, and deliberation, and offered 24 recommendations for strengthening the enterprise across three broad categories: training and professional development, transparency and coordination, and funding and resources.

Since then, the committee has received additional comments from faculty, students, trainees, and others across Johns Hopkins, and from the national biomedical research community. We are pleased to issue the final version of the report, which incorporates many of these comments. It can be found on the Office of the Provost website.

Some of the report’s recommended reforms are already well underway. Last year, we announced a new coalition of universities agreeing to publish training outcomes for PhD students and postdoctoral researchers in the life sciences. Here at Johns Hopkins, we have exceeded that commitment and have begun publishing these data for every department of the university. In January, the university announced an extension of the Catalyst and Discovery Awards programs for an additional three years to support early career faculty and cross-divisional research collaborations. And our Faculty Diversity Initiative continues to provide resources to build and sustain a more diverse faculty community.

Nevertheless, as indicated by the breadth of recommendations in the committee’s report, much work remains to be done. To that end, we have formed an implementation team composed of university leaders with expertise in the report’s three categories to work with colleagues across the schools. In its first year, the team will act on the report’s recommendations by:

  • Broadening implementation of doctoral and postdoctoral professional development plans to better prepare our trainees for careers (Rec. 1);• Developing universitywide mentoring expectations for faculty mentors and doctoral and postdoctoral mentees (Rec. 2);
  • Drawing on the work underway, such as the Joy of Medicine Initiative in the School of Medicine and other divisional programs, to address an array of workplace challenges confronting midcareer and senior investigators, which can contribute to a sense of faculty burnout (Rec. 9);
  • Identifying mechanisms that enhance university support for research collaboration (Rec. 11); and
  • Establishing a Research Core Coordinating Committee, integrated with groups now in place at the School of Medicine and Homewood, that will improve how faculty can access and share core resources (Rec. 12). For example, it will develop new processes to incentivize shared instrumentation (Rec. 13) and strengthen junior faculty access to core facilities (Rec. 15).

The implementation team also will develop a timetable for action on other recommendations. We expect many aspects of this work will benefit not only biomedical faculty, trainees, and staff but the Johns Hopkins University community at large. You can learn about the team members and keep apprised of their progress using the right-hand menu.

We thank the members of the committee for their valuable service to their fellow scientists. We extend special appreciation to committee chairs Wendy Post and Pierre Coulombe, as well as Janice Clements, Peter Espenshade, David Mohr, Larry Nagahara, and Chiadi Ndumele, who co-led subcommittees. We are grateful that a number of the members of the committee will continue to be involved in the implementation efforts moving forward.

Ours is a remarkable legacy. We look forward to forging the strongest possible research ecosystem we can for the remarkable scientists across Johns Hopkins, and the science they imagine.

Sincerely,

Ronald J. Daniels
President

Sunil Kumar
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

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