Fourty two* and still in need of mentoring?

After a frantic couple of weeks, the lab seems to be finally coming together. This afternoon I sat down and started to peruse the past few issues of Cell Science, Nature, JCB, PLoS etc. and a few of the blogs that I like to check out.

And then I read this strange article in the latest issue of Science: A SMART Plan for New Investigators

The premise is ... that the NIH should not give young investigators a break ... because they are full of crap?!?!!! As a solution the author writes:

Instead of providing special funding directly to new faculty, we should make sure that they receive sufficient mentoring as they work on the projects of more experienced investigators. I propose a new type of grant: the Senior Mentor-initiated Academic Research Training (SMART) award. To obtain this funding, senior faculty must apply to recruit junior faculty or new investigators and groom them for future independent work.

As Physioprof writes:

BRILLIANT!!!!!!!! Let's create yet another way for senior faculty to build empires on the backs of junior faculty, and further delay their genuine independence. Forty-two motherfucking years old as the average age of award of the first R01 is way too young! These whippersnappers need more "mentoring" from senior faculty! And what better way to get it than to work on the senior faculty's own projects!!!!

One reason I chose to move back to Canada is that it is much easier for junior faculty to get funding for their labs up here. Hopefully things will improve for my friends south of the border.

(*for the record I am not 42 years old.)

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"(*for the record I am not 42 years old.)"

Since "42" is the answer to life, the universe, and everything, I looked forward to that year with eager anticipation. Perhaps my mental fog would lift, life would start to make sense to me, and at last I would be able to integrate all the conflicting thoughts that had not come together previously.

Alas, the moment came and left, and I was no smarter. Maybe even a little dumber.

The SMART-grant would be the most stupid thing ever invented. In fact, it has been tested for centuries in Germany, and it clearly did not work out there!

Argh! My friend Dr. Historian of Medicine enjoys blaming the Baby Boomers for all manner of social ills. I think this is one of those things.

By juliasero (not verified) on 20 Nov 2009 #permalink

At 42, I was a well situated Full Professor. However, I was at a young regional university, and this was back in the good old days.

By Jim Thomerson (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink