In the mid-1970s, the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship, the program that gives US recipients the chance to study at Oxford for two to three years, included just one or two future scientists per year, out of 32 awardees. Now that the Rhodes no longer sees training government leaders as its only mission, as many as a third of each year's class are chosen from science applicants; this year's class, announced last November, includes seven from the sciences.

That number may increase, now that the National Institutes of Health and the Rhodes Trust at Oxford University have teamed up to allow Rhodes Scholars to earn a doctorate in biomedical sciences in half the time it would take them in the United States. The NIH will fund American Rhodes recipients studying at Oxford to earn jointly monitored PhDs, spending half their time at Oxford and half the time on the NIH campus in...

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