This op-ed was originally published on thehill.com.
Bold, young scientists have the potential to revolutionize scientific research and accelerate the pace of innovation. They have disruptive ideas and a unique blend of intellect, knowledge, imagination, daring and perseverance; exactly what’s required to make truly transformational leaps in medical discovery.
These early career investigators are more likely to be women or from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds, and they have been impacted disproportionately by pandemic-related lab closures, disruptions in research and publishing, and academic hiring freezes — vital building blocks for a distinguished career in the sciences.
Proposed legislation, such as the bipartisan RISE Act, aims to minimize the long-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on research, but we must use this unprecedented moment to completely reimagine how the funding ecosystem invests in and prioritizes young and diverse researchers. If we don’t, we risk squandering an opportunity to put scientific research on a new trajectory — one with the potential to fast-track truly innovative breakthroughs while meaningfully supporting researchers from traditionally underrepresented groups. These two things are intimately linked; at its core, science is about discovery, and innovating requires fostering a range of perspectives.
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