Abstract for: Research Workforce Diversity: The Case of Balancing National vs. International Postdocs in U.S. Biomedical Research

The U.S. government has been increasingly supporting postdoctoral training in biomedical science to develop the domestic research workforce. However, current trends suggest that mostly international researchers benefit from the funding, many of whom might leave the U.S. after training. In this paper, we describe a model used to analyze the flow of national vs. international researchers into and out of postdoctoral training. We calibrate our model to the case of the U.S. and successfully replicate the data. We use the model to conduct simulation-based analyses of effects of different policies on the diversity of postdoctoral researchers. Our model shows that capping the duration of postdoctoral careers, a policy proposed previously, favors international postdoctoral researchers. The analysis suggests that the leverage point to help the growth of domestic research workforce is in the pre-graduate education area, and many policies implemented at the post-graduate level have minimal or unintended effects on diversity.