Biomedical science is not a game for the young?

The National Institutes of Health have helpfully posted summary information about their funding patterns. It is much more revealing of the training patterns and mentoring of young investigators at our academic centers than any specific NIH policy. It is evident that whatever your terminal degree, your age at first R01 is 42-44, a full 10 years older than the age of first R01 in 1970. PhD's only are 2 years younger on average than MD's and MD-PhD's are remarkably no older than the MD's (which was not the case in 1970). What does this say about the capability of our research workforce to be energetically innovative? Are we drawing from the right pool of investigators or is there something fundamentally wrong in the institutionalized career path leading to an R01?


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