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!
visiting grad student at
Texas A&M University
Department of Biological Sciences
College Station, TX 77843
"Evil is best defined as militant ignorance."
Dr. M. Scott Peck