Barriers to Expanding the Ranks of Staff Scientists

Barriers to Expanding Ranks of Staff Scientists from American Soc. for Cell Biology on Vimeo.

ASCB is presenting a series of Education and Professional Development videos for the benefit of our members.

Barriers to Expanding the Ranks of Staff Scientists

This video was recorded on December 10 at the 2109 ASCB|EMBO Meeting in Washington, DC.

Moderator: Story Landis, Former Director, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, NIH


  • Laura Contreras-Ruiz, Staff Scientist, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
  • Travis Berggren, Executive Director of Research Operations, Salk Institute for Biological Sciences
  • Stacey Gabriel, Senior Director of the Genomics Platform; Institute Scientist, Broad Institute
  • Dinah S. Singer, Deputy Director, Scientific Strategy and Development, National Cancer Institute

Growth in the trainee population without a concomitant increase in future employment opportunities presents a Malthusian dilemma for biomedical research. One way to reduce this pressure is to move away from research primarily conducted by trainees to a system that depends more on professional staff scientists. This session will explore the benefits of a greater dependence on professional staff scientists, and the cultural and institutional barriers that stand in the way of this shift. Current staff scientists will describe their roles and opportunities for career advancement. Faculty and administrators will describe their experiences working with staff scientists, and the institutional reforms needed to expand these ranks. The invited speakers will also engage the audience on ways to overcome roadblocks to employing more staff scientists.


  1. Understand the increasing roles that staff scientists play in research, and the ways in which institutions must adapt to their employment.
  2. Gain an understanding of the many ways in which staff scientist positions are funded.
  3. Learn about career development opportunities and other institutional policies affecting staff scientists.

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