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Young scientists' group could improve working conditions

BMJ 1994; 308 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.308.6924.293 (Published 29 January 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;308:293
  1. A Tonks

    Young medical researchers in Britain have got together to call for better training, better research opportunities, a clearer career structure, and a higher profile for medical research. The Association of Young Medical Scientists, recently set up in response to growing concern about the difficulties faced by career academics and the threat to research from the government's NHS reforms, has already asked Kenneth Calman, the chief medical officer, to consider the special problems faced by academics in his review of specialist training.

    *Lots of young doctors are doing good research

    (Fig Omitted)

    Dr Richard Sandford, a molecular geneticist at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge and a member of the steering committee that formed the group, said that the Association of Young Medical Scientists (AYMS) aimed to raise the profile of medical research and give young scientists a new forum for presenting their work.

    Dr Sandford said that researchers who were at the beginning of their careers had nobody to represent their interests in discussions on training, planning and funding research, part time training, or specialist accreditation. He also warned that many young doctors were put off a career in research because they were wrongly advised by their seniors or were given poor quality research projects to do with little prospect of publishable results. “People should not be coerced into doing poor quality research that they are not interested in just to get a consultancy; on the other hand, there is plenty of good research out there for people interested both in an academic career or to broaden their clinical training. Potential academics and young academics need someone representing their interests who can give them advice and encouragement,” he said.

    The group's first members are doctors and scientists who have been awarded senior fellowships from medical research charities such as the Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust, and the British Heart Foundation. All of them are under 45 years old. Richard Sandford said, “Our advocacy role will be available to everyone.”

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