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Research for America?

Borrowing from the Teach For America concept, Sam Wang and Sandra Aamodt, guest bloggers over at the NYT's The Wild Side, have proposed an intriguing way to spend some of the $8.2 billion in federal stimulus funds set aside for research funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Their idea is to recruit college graduates to spend a few years working, TFA-style, in research laboratories. The recruits would spend a few weeks in the summer at a lab skills boot camp and then dive into the laboratory workforce in the fall.

The hope is that the experience, besides providing much-needed employment for young job-seekers, might persuade as many as 60 percent of them to make a career in science.

"The time is right to call young people into scientific research," Wang and Aamodt write, noting also President Barack Obama's pledge to "restore science to its rightful place."

While the proposal targets biomedical research, it's not a huge leap to imagine the same sort of effort at work in education research.

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