A new analysis published in The FASEB Journal describes the declining participation of physician scientists in biomedical research. The article, "NIH research funding and early career physician scientists: continuing challenges in the 21st century," cites several indicators of this decline. Physician scientist awardees of National Institutes of Health (NIH) postdoctoral training and career development awards are at an all-time low, and those who continue to pursue a research track receive their first major research grant at a later age than in the 1980s.
"While increased NIH funding during the late 1990s and early 2000s halted the long-term decline in the number of physicians entering research careers, the current environment of reduced NIH funding has further eroded their participation," stated study co-author, Howard H. Garrison, PhD. "Physician scientists have the unique potential to combine clinical perspectives with scientific insight, and if their participation continues to fall, we may lose opportunities to translate basic science discoveries into health care advances."