After reading the article by Paul Smaglik and Eugene Russo on the National Research Council's Commission on Life Sciences (The Scientist, 12[19]:6, Sept. 28, 1998), I was left with mixed emotions. On one hand, it was satisfying to see that the perception of a tight job market for Ph.D.-level scientists is being addressed seriously on a national level. I wrote about this problem over three years ago in The Scientist (9[11]:11, May 29, 1995), so naturally I believe that it would clearly be a good thing if the production of Ph.D.s was limited in some way.

However, the suggestion (by Sherrie Hans) that students should only be permitted to be funded from National Institutes of Health training grants misses several critical points. First, the important feature of good training during graduate school is not just the size of a program (which is a clear determinant of whether...

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