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Re. postdocs ...

Mon Aug 18 13:47:55 EST 1997

This whole thing started because of a discussion about the low salary of 
an NIH (not-inhouse) postdoc.  While I think the discussion is 
progressing in some interesting ways, I just wanted to remind everyone 
why the first two years of an NIH post-doc are so low.  According to an 
NIH scientist who recently gave a seminar here, it's because they want 
to increase the number of MD researchers by teaching MDs how to do 
research via a postdoc experience.  However, in order to attract MDs at 
all, they have to give them a decent salary.  Thus, the MDs are 
considered third-year postdocs (supposedly their degree equals two years 
of post PhD experience, even though many of them have to be taught what 
a pipetman is!)  In order to pay the decent $26K salary to the MDs, they 
have to cut the money out of the first two years, which only people with 
PhDs need.  Thus the two years at $17K and $21K for those of us without 

This tells me two things:

1) NIH thinks that <26K is not a reasonable wage, yet they pay that when 
they can get away with it.

2) NIH considers people with PhDs and publications less valuable than 
people with MDs who are blurry on how to set up a good experiment.

I'm sure I've insulted all the MDs and half of NIH, so I'll go get my 
asbestos underwear, but I wanted to make the point that if we look at 
policy, it's not just "society" at large that doesn't value a research 
PhD-it's NIH itself! 

Julia Frugoli
Dartmouth College

visiting grad student at
Texas A&M University
Department of Biological Sciences
College Station, TX 77843
FAX 409-847-8805

"Evil is best defined as militant ignorance."
																										Dr. M. Scott Peck

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