NIH & the Stimulus in the NY Times

An article appeared in today's Science Section under the title, Beaker-Ready Projects? Colleges Have Quite a Few

Here's a passage that highlights what I've been harping about:

The acting director of the National Institutes of Health begged university administrators on Wednesday to avoid even applying for stimulus money unless the universities planned to hire people almost immediately.

"It would be the height of embarrassment," the official, Dr. Raynard S. Kington, said, "if we give these grants and find out that institutions are not spending them to hire people and make purchases and advance the science the way they're designed to do."

Not a problem, the administrators said, in interviews.

Now I'm not against hiring people, but we should do this responsibly. It would be insane to shuttle a whole generation into academia with no future plan. What we need is to create good stable long term careers not another boom-bust cycle that will reinforce everything that is wrong with how we train our up-and-coming scientists.

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"It would be insane to shuttle a whole generation into academia with no future plan." This wouldn't be a problem if we'd be willing to actually train people for the rest of the world instead of just future PIs. Politicians, school teachers, industry, lawyers, policemen and policewomen, wouldn't it be great if these people had real scientific experience and understanding?

Especially crazy to pay for more grants when those submitted to NIGMS of NIH get an automatic cut so they can pay more grants in total. Given that, it makes sense to supplement those already funded grants to pay for equipment included in those reviewed grants. Those typically are front loaded expenses to begin with. It would give money that labs would use and spend immediately. Hiring more postdocs/grad students takes time and is a commitment of more than two years. I know my lab could use new equipment but given the automatic cut those expenses are the ones that go first because keeping people funded in the lab who are very productive is priority one.

By ponderingfool (not verified) on 24 Feb 2009 #permalink

Thank you, thank you, thank you for articulating something that concerns me enormously! I am afraid that the money contained in the stimulus package and to be apportioned out as "Challenge Grants" is going to create another glut of Ph.D.s at the other end with nowhere to go! It might be in the best interests of all concerned if the grants were limited to creating non-doctoral positions. In general, it is my considered opinion that we would benefit in this country by severely restricting the grant of Ph.D. degrees or even the admission of students to doctoral programs to ensure that there is some semblance of balance between demand and supply for jobs and Ph.D-scientists.

Many people bidding for some of these government funded construction projects will be left out in the cold if they do not have their OSHA training. Several states (NY, CT, MA, RI, NH, and MO) have laws requiring workers on publically-funded jobsites to take the OSHA 10 hour construction training class, like the ones available at http://www.osha10hourtraining.com . Without the OSHA card, they cannot get on the site. Many general contractors also have the same requirement for minimum OSHA training. So be prepared, do not wait until the last minute or you may be disqualified from getting onto the jobsite.

@OSHAPro

While it may be true that more and more states are mandating OSHA 10 and 30 hour training, the fact is that it has never been easier to get certified. OSHA approved courses are available online at the takers own pace. Not to mention that prices are currently at an all time low. The truth is online courses cost significantly less than taking an on-site training class. For more information on online OSHA training visit http://www.easysafetyschool.com.

Number of states have laws requiring employees on publically-funded jobsites to take the OSHA 10 construction training class, like the ones available at http://www.180training.com . Without the OSHA Certification , they cannot acquire on the hazardous site. So be ready, do not awaiting the last stage otherwise you may be ineligible from getting onto the work site.