Links 6/2/15

Links for you. Science:

The NIH Cull and the K99/R00 cohorts
Reduced public funding for basic research leaves U.S. in the scientific dust
Chagas Disease: How A Silent Tropical Parasite Prospers In The US
The Mystical World of Mushrooms
Thousands of Giant Jellyfish Appear in Swarms off Britain’s Coast (forget Skynet, I for one welcome our Giant Jellyfish Overlords)


Details Uncovered in Boston’s 2024 Olympic Bid May Put It in Jeopardy
So much blackmail
What the heck is going on with Wisconsin public education?
The Benghazi outrage we actually should be talking about
The Testing Circus: Whose Fault Is It?
A Man Narrowly Escapes Death Thanks to His iPhone
Will Connecticut Go Robin Hood on Low-Wage Bosses?
Losing Sparta: The Bitter Truth Behind the Gospel of Productivity
These Workers Have a New Demand: Stop Watching Us
An educational “outing” for the Republicans in the State of Wisconsin
The Press and Bernie Sanders
Hawaii Man Impaled, Killed By Swordfish
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Sect In London Bans Women From Driving
Once the pride of Jewish Revere, temple set to be sold
How Virginia paid more than $250 million for a road that never got built
Bernie Sanders was unapologetically strong responding to Chuck Todd on 43 year old essay
The “Convict at All Costs” Mandate Must Change
How Dennis Hastert made a fortune in land deals
Wages and Child Poverty
Expelled under new policy, ex-Amherst College student files suit: Amherst accused of ignoring evidence in alleged sexual assault

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1 Response to Links 6/2/15

  1. Chris G says:

    Hiltzik’s piece on public funding of basic research is depressing. (I saw the MIT report a few weeks back as well.) The trend has been evident for quite a while now. You could early signs in the 20+ years in the challenges my Ph.D. advisor and his peers (physical chemists) had getting their proposals funded. After my postdoc I ended up working on DoD-funded R&D because there weren’t a whole lot of other opportunities for spectroscopists/physical chemists like myself. While DoD funding for R&D was fairly generous in the early Bush regime it has gotten very tight over the past 7-8 years*. A decade ago the services and other branches of gov’t funded a fair amount of R&D – both basic and applied – via Broad Agency Announcements (BAAs). As a PI working in a small business you could get contracts which would support a few people for a few years. There were also Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) solicitations which would provide shorter duration and less generous funding but were a decent way to get ideas off the ground. Between BAA- and SBIR-funded projects you could do interesting work and earn a decent living. Since the late Bush administration (roughly coincident with the 2008 financial crisis but perhaps a bit preceding it, I can’t recall specifics) BAA opportunities have contracted considerably and SBIRs and STTRs have gotten ridiculously competitive. SBIRs and STTRs they haven’t gotten hacked back while pretty much all other potential funding sources have so, not surprisingly, many more people are writing SBIR proposals. I spent 15 years as a PI on DoD “6.1”, “6.2” and “6.3”-level R&D programs but I stopped a few years ago because 1) it had become more of a headache than it was worth find funding to useful work and 2) the future looked even grimmer than the present. Talking with my former colleagues, it has gotten grimmer and looks to become grimmer still. And that’s DoD-funded R&D. I suspect the situation is even uglier in the non-DoD world.

    (* The reality of a flat budget on the gov’t side is that organizations with political power grow their R&D budgets by x% every year and the least powerful organizations get to fight over whatever is left, which is less than there was to fight over the year before.)

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