Johns Hopkins University today posted new data on students in life sciences PhD programs, its first release as part of a new national initiative to shed light on the career paths of would-be life scientists.
The aim is to give prospective graduate students—along with advanced students and postdoctoral fellows—clear, standardized data on graduate school admissions, education and training opportunities, and career prospects.
Today's first release includes data on applications, admissions, and enrollments in 22 Johns Hopkins life sciences PhD programs in the schools of Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Medicine, and Public Health. Also included is information on how many entering students completed their programs and how long it took them to earn their degrees.
The next data release in July will focus on the demographics of the university's postdoctoral scholars. Future releases will include information on time in training for postdocs and career outcomes for both PhD and postdoctoral alumni.
The NGLS Coalition formed last year in response to the focus of many new PhDs solely on pursuing a limited number of traditional faculty positions. Many scientists have pointed in recent years to the lack of good marketplace information about other career options and on training opportunities.
Ronald J. Daniels, president of Johns Hopkins University and one of the coalition founders, said in December that the new data transparency will help ensure that students and postdocs "are empowered to make informed choices among the full range of training and career options in and out of academia."
He added: "Our ultimate aim is to create the strongest possible conditions for discovery among all of our researchers."
The presidents and chancellors of all 10 founding institutions announced the initiative in a joint article in the journal Science. The other participating institutions are Cornell University; Duke University; Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; the University of California, San Francisco; the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; the University of Pennsylvania; and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and an anonymous donor are helping to fund the coalition. Leading the group's work are two faculty members, Elizabeth Watkins, dean of the Graduate Division and vice chancellor for student academic affairs at UCSF, and Peter Espenshade, associate dean for graduate biomedical education at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.