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U.S. Senator Baldwin warns of losing next generation of scientists

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin says America is in danger of losing its next generation of scientists, unless the federal government does something.

The Wisconsin Democrat met Tuesday with students and officials at medical school research facilities in Madison and Milwaukee.

Baldwin explained a bill she plans to introduce this fall to have the National Institutes of Health create policies that support researchers, and provide incentives for younger scientists.

Baldwin said funding has been flat for almost a decade at the NIH – and the health agency stands to lose $1.5 billion due to this year’s federal budget sequestration. As a result, Baldwin says the average age of medical researchers receiving grants has risen from 36-years-old in 1980 to 42 now.

She says it’s getting less likely for medical grads to obtain research grants after college. Because of that, Baldwin fears that the current generation will abandon its work, and future high school grads will pursue other career options instead.

Her planned legislation would not increase direct funding to the NIH, but it would require policies for mentorships and incentives to support researchers.