Life science coalition releases first round of data

By Meghan Chua

Biochemistry students
Biochemistry students conduct an experiment in class. The Coalition for Next Generation Life Science project hopes to give students in biochemistry and other life sciences more information about career outcomes and training opportunities. (Photo by Jeff Miller/UW-Madison)

The Coalition for Next Generation Life Science has released its first round of data in a project that seeks to inform current and prospective life sciences students about their career options.

UW–Madison joined nine other institutions to form the coalition in December, citing the limited availability of tenure-track faculty positions, concerns about career preparation, and the lack of good information on training and career options in life sciences.

“In the absence of such information, students are prevented from making informed choices about their pre- and postdoctoral training activities, and universities from preparing trainees for a full range of careers,” the presidents and chancellors of coalition member institutions wrote in a December article announcing the coalition.

The Coalition for Next Generation Life Science website, which went live with the first round of member data in early February, now displays data on admissions, enrollment, funding, completion, and time to degree.

Additional categories of data will be added the project in the next 18 months, such as time spent in postdoctoral research positions and jobs taken by an institution’s former graduate students and postdocs.

Member institutions will release demographic data of postdoctoral researchers – including gender, underrepresented minority status, and citizenship status – in July.

Participating in the coalition is one of UW–Madison’s moves toward making more career outcome data available to prospective and current students. The UW­­–Madison Graduate School is also participating in a multi-institutional grant to study PhD career pathways led by the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS).

Graduate School data is available to the public on the school’s website, including in an interactive format, where prospective or current students can investigate the data for their own decision making. Programs also use data from the Graduate School for program review and continuous improvement.