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Scientists: Are we producing too many?

The short answer is: it depends on who you ask.


The view of governments, universities and policy-makers is an emphatic "No." In fact, they argue that Canada needs to sharply increase its output of scientists with advanced degrees, since they are the engine of "innovation" that will drive the "knowledge-based economy" of the future. The Ontario government, for its part, has implemented a plan to increase graduate enrollment by an astounding 50 per cent over the period 2005-2009.


In contrast, from some in the scientific community comes a resounding "Yes." They argue that an oversupply of scientists is having negative effects on the scientific enterprise, lowering the morale of young scientists and eroding the appeal of research as a career choice for today's "best and brightest." Without reforms, the long-term health of the research enterprise is at risk.


How can we reconcile these two paradoxical views? What's going on here?


Read more at Jeff Sharom's article on the MaRS blog:


THIS PHOTO: A team of ARS and Cornell University researchers, some of whom are pictured here, was the first to determine the molecular structure of RNA. This achievement won team leader Robert W. Holley (left), of ARS, the Nobel Prize in 1968.

Photo by Sol Goldberg.

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Taken on June 27, 2005