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Re. postdocs ...

Karen Allendoerfer ravena at cco.caltech.edu
Mon Aug 18 12:52:35 EST 1997


I (Karen Allendoerfer) wrote:

>> in any given lab, there should be fewer people "in training" and more
>> people who are already trained and working at a permanent job.
>> And those people should be respected and paid what they're worth
>> (including
>> benefits, etc.)

SL Forsburg responded:
>
>How to effect these changes?  For those of us in the transition from our
>former
>scientific culture to our uncertain new one, it's hard.  As long as I am
>judged by
>the productivity and size of my lab, I have a strong incentive to keep
>expanding.
>People who do, of course, contribute to the "disposable student/postdoc"
>
>attitude.  That has to change.

Yes, I understand.  I don't blame individual PI's at all for this after
hearing the pressures that they are under.  

I think that Linnea Ista pointed to the problem when she said that she,
a highly-qualified member of the "research staff," was a nonentity on a
grant proposal that she was helping to write!

I've helped my boss write grants too, and we will regularly ask for a
technician's salary, and that often gets cut, even if we do get some of
the money we ask for.  Who makes these rules,
anyway, and why should they be so hard to change?  Why can't the funding
agencies be required to allocate so much money for technicians vs. so
much money for graduate students and postdocs, depending, for example,
on how many graduate students/postdocs/technicians that the PI already
has?

Surely NIH keeps statistics on how many graduate students, postdocs, etc.
it is paying.  There seem to be a lot of training grants floating around
at almost every institution.  Why can't resources be allocated differently
from the top, away from "training grants" and towards grants for 
established people?

Karen




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