Science unemployment down: NSF

The supply of scientists and engineers continues to grow in the US, and that unemployment rate, at 2.5 percent, is the lowest it's been since the early 1990s, the National Science Foundation linkurl:reported;http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=111369&govDel=USNSF_51 last week. There's no need to worry about the US's ability to fill science jobs, the agency said in a press release which described a recent analysis of its 2006 science and engineering surveys. Not everyone ag

Edyta Zielinska
Apr 8, 2008
The supply of scientists and engineers continues to grow in the US, and that unemployment rate, at 2.5 percent, is the lowest it's been since the early 1990s, the National Science Foundation linkurl:reported;http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=111369&govDel=USNSF_51 last week. There's no need to worry about the US's ability to fill science jobs, the agency said in a press release which described a recent analysis of its 2006 science and engineering surveys. Not everyone agrees with the NSF's conclusions. "I think that it's not surprising that the unemployment rate is so low," said Carrie Wolinetz a spokesperson at the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). "You're talking about people who are talented enough to go on to a higher degree in science," she told __The Scientist.__ That group's numbers tell a different story: On Monday FASEB released a linkurl:memo;http://opa.faseb.org/pdf/2008/NIH.Research.Funding.4.08.pdf showing a decline in the numbers of investigators applying for RO1 grants by 1,763...
y 1990s, the National Science Foundation linkurl:reported;http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=111369&govDel=USNSF_51 last week. There's no need to worry about the US's ability to fill science jobs, the agency said in a press release which described a recent analysis of its 2006 science and engineering surveys. Not everyone agrees with the NSF's conclusions. "I think that it's not surprising that the unemployment rate is so low," said Carrie Wolinetz a spokesperson at the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). "You're talking about people who are talented enough to go on to a higher degree in science," she told __The Scientist.__ That group's numbers tell a different story: On Monday FASEB released a linkurl:memo;http://opa.faseb.org/pdf/2008/NIH.Research.Funding.4.08.pdf showing a decline in the numbers of investigators applying for RO1 grants by 1,763 in 2007. This 6.1percent drop in applications is the biggest decline since FASEB started following the numbers in 1995. FASEB reports that nearly a third of that decrease came from a drop in investigators seeking their first RO1. It reflects an atmosphere where young scientists are discouraged from academic research, said Wolinetz. The NSF concedes that the data only reflects the supply of scientists and engineers currently in the workforce. The data "do not reflect information about the future or current demand for scientists and engineers," said Nimmi Kannankutty, NSF program manager of the data in the statement.

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