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The Impact of Postdoctoral Fellowships on a Future Independent Career in Federally Funded Biomedical Research -- by Misty L. Heggeness, Donna K. Ginther, Maria I. Larenas, Frances D. Carter-Johnson

The Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) program is a major research training program administered by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) with funds appropriated each year by Congress. This study examines the impact of NRSA postdoctoral fellowships on subsequent research-related career outcomes using NIH administrative records on applicants who applied for a fellowship between 1996 and 2008. We find that postdoctoral fellowships increased the probability of receiving subsequent NIH research awards from 6.3 to 8.2 percentage points and of achieving an NIH-funded R01 award, an indication of an independent research career, from 4.6 to 6.1 percentage points. Our findings demonstrate that the NRSA postdoctoral fellowship awards have the potential to promote retention of scientists in NIH-funded research and in the biomedical workforce pipeline.
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