Panel: Simulation Based Studies of Research Workforce Development
(Policy Informatics)

Friday, November 9, 2012: 9:45 AM-11:15 AM
Schaefer (Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Organizers:  Navid Ghaffarzadegan, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Ohio State University
Moderators:  Spiro Maroulis, Arizona State University
Chairs:  Natalie Helbig, State University of New York, Albany

Workforce development is a critical concern in economic growth, and governments increasingly focus on drafting strategic plans to improve the quality of skilled labor force. In response to this concern, this panel focuses on research workforce development. It includes four complimenting studies and addresses several of the policy challenges of workforce development that need to be addressed in government decisions. In the first paper, the authors study research workforce development in the US, with a focus on postdoctoral researchers in bio-medicine. Data shows postdoctoral training in biology and medicine is becoming common practice for PhD graduates. However, government spending through NIH has also attracted international researchers for these positions in the US, and the ratio of national postdoctorates is continuously declining. This raises a serious concern about the effectiveness of spending on research as a considerable portion of international scholars leave after finishing their training. The paper models the trend and analyzes the effects of four major policies on the diversity of the future research workforce. The second paper follows a similar theme and investigates demographic changes in the population of science and engineering graduates who form the basis for the US scientific workforce. The study develops, calibrates and evaluates computational models of population change in the scientific workforce. The paper utilizes the Surveys of Doctoral Recipients compiled by the National Science Foundation. Disparities across three race cohorts of doctoral recipients including Underrepresented Minorities, non-Hispanic Whites, and non-Hispanic Asians are analyzed in this study. The third paper follows the first two papers with a focus on a specific case: the US government policy of doubling the annual NIH Awards from 1998 to 2003 and its effects on research workforce development. The authors provide a dynamic analysis of the effects of research spending on the long term growth of the bio-medical field. The paper examines how more money can result in fewer outcomes and affect the attractiveness of staying in the workforce pipeline. It also provides insights into the effects of government spending in other research domains and how national workforce development can suffer from unintended consequences. The fourth paper examines a European case, Lithuania, and sheds light on vicious and virtues cycles that, at a macro-level, help or prevent a country achieve quality workforce development. The case is unique in illustrating how difficult it can be to overcome the structural barriers to workforce development. Wide disparities in wages and employment opportunities, hyper-inflation, changes in currency, and unemployment rates have significantly affected the economy of Lithuania. The study completes the panel by examining the challenges of workforce development in a country with different socio-economic conditions. Altogether, these papers offer a comprehensive panel for the study of workforce development at different levels with a special focus on the research workforce. A simulation approach is another commonality in these papers which suggests methodological developments for future studies of public policy through the utilization of policy informatics techniques.

Diversity In Research Workforce Development: National Versus International Bio-Medical Postdoctorates
Navid Ghaffarzadegan, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Joshua Hawley, The Ohio State University and Anand Desai, Ohio State University

Understanding Growth Change In the US Scientific Workforce
Antonio Sanfilippo, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Doubling of Annual NIH Awards From 1998 to 2003: Models for Research Workforce Development
Mauricio Gomez Diaz, Navid Ghaffarzadegan and Richard C. Larson, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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