FDA unveils plan to recruit young science staffers
July 21, 2008
According to the Associated Press, the Food and Drug Administration has unveiled a plan for recruiting young staffers to replace the hundreds of scientists retiring from the agency. The FDA said it will launch a two-year fellowship program for physicians, chemists, statisticians and other science professionals interested in food and drug regulation. About 30 to 40 fellows will be accepted for the first program, which begins in October. Some of those accepted are expected to stay on as full-time employees after completing the program, which includes course work and seminars. Congress has been pressuring the agency, which employs 10,100 staffers, to improve its operations, strengthen its inspections and hire more experts. The average age of the FDA''s work force is 54, and about 30 percent of general staffers already are eligible to retire. The agency is working to replace more than 700 employees by October. In recent years many senior FDA scientists have retired and joined consulting companies like Quintiles, which advises Pfizer Inc., Merck & Co. Inc. and other drugmakers.