The equality of pain

Jun 27 2015 Published by under NIH, NIH Budget, PI

No one has the right answer! Everyone's proposals to fix the NIH funding situation boils down to give money to folks like "me" and fuck everyone else. So I have to agree with Odyssey's premise, maybe the current system is as good as we get. Maybe, the current system just cannot function properly when it is heavily taxed by an expanded investigator pool and a not enough resources to support them.

A shift to a HHMI style process is quite ludicrous as HHMI could never exist in a vacuum without the NIH and as Drugmonkey posits, the scalability of this is laughable at best. And once again you create a very insular version of science that looks more like a circlejerk amongst friends that limits the playing field even farther.

Is the answer that there is no answer and that we but here to play the game, trying to adapt and survive each day, while trying to make incremental beneficial changes to the system? Fuck it I don't know, but I know its not Germain's plan. To me there is a macabre but reassuring thought that all of us, the good, the bad, the riff raff, and (to some extent) the BSDs are all being crushed under the same terrible wheel. It could be that is the justice of the system, when the times are tough, to some extent we all bleed together.

6 responses so far

  • Odyssey says:

    Welcome to the Thunderdome.

  • eeke says:

    As long as you're on the topic of equality, does anyone know whether HHMI publicizes the diversity of their scientists? Just browsing through the group leaders at Janelia, women are terribly underrepresented there (<20%). I know HHMI has made efforts to try and be more inclusive by accepting self-nominations (because not enough women were being nominated) and abolishing the policy of excluding individuals who held a chairmanship or other administrative position. I think that has helped, but not enough. It's clear who would suffer if the NIH started to adopt a similar model.

    • genomicrepairman says:

      Can't find the stats off-hand but my curiosity is making me look. I'll post if I can find anything relevant and useful.

  • DJMH says:

    Janelia "tries" to recruit women, but they're hobbled by the idiotic choice to site the campus in the exurbs. Women are far more likely than men to have a spouse with a science job (or for that matter any major job), so locations like that make it hard to hire women. Of course if Janelia were serious about hiring women, they could also hire their spouses, but they don't (anecdata and observation...), so there's also clearly a lack of genuine interest in solving the problem.

    And since the decision to locate the campus in nowheresville took place around 2000 or so, not in like 1960, they knew this would be a side effect and they didn't care enough to change it.

    • drugmonkey says:

      Clearly the best scientists are the ones that overlook such quotidian concerns and focus on their science DJMH. Pure merit based appointing at Janelia.

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