WASHINGTON—The National Science Foundation has changed its format for proposals in a strong message to applicants about what their priorities should be. The new format reflects the nation’s increasing concern about the training of new scientists and information overload.

On October 1, NSF began requiring that all proposals include a statement about a proposed project’s educational potential and a list of the young scientists being trained in the applicant’s laboratory. In addition, NSF declared that only 10 publications by then principal investigator would be considered during the merit review.

“Scientists themselves have to recognize that science is getting out of hand,” says Margaret Davis, Regents Professor of Ecology at the University of Minnesota, about the effects of increased specialization and sprawling laboratory teams on the future of research. Too often, she says, lab chiefs have too little time to work with graduate students and no time at all to help...

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