Why Biologists Can’t Have Nice Things

NIH recently announced that all non-competitive grant renewals will be cut by ten percent (an example for the laity: if you are awarded a five-year grant per year, the grant is renewed every year–subject to NIH approval–for the life of the grant. Every year, NIH has the option to cut or pull the grant entirely). The reason is that Congress has been unable to produce a budget, and, instead is funding programs through a continuing resolution. As DrugMonkey notes, this will have real-world consequences:

Part deux:

Once again, it’s worth noting that scientists are probably the least organized and effective government contractors around. Does anyone think defense contractors, year after year, go through this kind of crap? I think we should be treated at least as well as KBR and Haliburton. Do you?

We need to up our game. If you’re not a federally employed scientist*, write your Congresscritters and tell them what this means for your lab group and your research. Then send a copy to your local newspaper. It’s how the political game is played.

*There are rules against this sort of thing.

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3 Responses to Why Biologists Can’t Have Nice Things

  1. crestwind24 says:

    Reblogged this on CauseScience and commented:
    Great post! Scientists need to be advocates!

  2. Actually, the universities are the contractors (not the PIs), and they’re extremely well organized (why do you think indirect rates are allowed to get so large).

  3. Anne says:

    Er, well, yes we (contractors at least at the little people level) do have to put up with working on fumes for 3 to 6 months every damn year. That’s why the rates are high and net margins are half of other industries. The guvmint is a terrible customer, a stupid regulator, and an incompetent auditor and bipolar source of funds. I view the deferred budgets as defacto budget cuts because the dropout rate for projects will be high. We need a new plan for funding research, not organized begging.

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