The recent article “NSF Reinstitutes Training Grants To Spur Interdisciplinary Science” (The Scientist, Oct. 2, 1989, page 1) leads me to wonder if NSF has fully considered the availability of jobs and research funding for the trainees once they get their degrees. It appears that many of these students will be trained in fields in which research is done primarily at universities. To make adequate use of their training they will need startup funds and ongoing grant support in amounts far. exceeding the original traineeship costs (and will themselves turn out additional new Ph.D.’s). I doubt if sufficient moneys will be available in an era of long-term federal and university budget shortfalls.

We must not forget the lesson of the 1 960s, when fear of a shortage of scientists led to the training of many talented people for jobs and grants that failed to materialize. Perhaps NSF should...

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