From Drug Monkey: What did staff say about the asst prof demographic? (Thanks for speaking up, btw)
It was my sense that everyone on the SS was aware of the issues for junior people. I didn’t have to go into my spiel about this graph:
Everyone was concerned. There were discussion about What To Do. Everyone kicked around the same ideas that have been kicked around by all of your favorite twitters. With one exception: no one talked about killing off the Boomers (even the Gen-Xers on the panel). Certainly having more started awards (like R03s, like K-awards) for faculty got big play, and staff heard. Don’t what if anything this will change. But the conversations are happening.
I also talked about adding junior people to the study section, and lots said “oh, yeah, what ever happened to that program?”. But there was a discussion about the specifics to make it happen, that included NIH staff. The SRO said that she had “been thinking about it” but seemed very receptive. She talked about the specifics to make it happen, said she would try and see what she could do. I suspect things like this are controlled at a higher level (even for in-house IC-specific study sections like this one).
I am going to follow up and write a letter to the chair of the SS, and to the SRO, as well as to the IC’s Senior Person of Research Stuff (can’t remember the title – associate director?). If this is something that we (the community) want to make happen, I suspect that multiple judicious letters to SROs, to Sally Rocky, and others will do more for making it happen than just waiting for it. The director of CSR is Dr. Richard Nakamura. Email him at: RNakamura@nih.gov. Also link to Francis Collins, another person who might read what you write (probably not).\
More on study section thoughts to come.