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.
This sounds kinda familiar, doesn't it?
Hellooooo? Ivory tower knucklehead peers?? KNOCK, KNOCK!!!!!
This is not about what is best for science or the scientific enterprise. This is about stimulating the economy. And nobody has an evidence-backed clue about how to do that.
Is it really that hard to stick to two things people (meaning CongressCritters) can grasp?
Putting people back to work and buying stuff.
I think we should be hammering the college-grad employment stats because after all this is just about the only "new jobs" we can create with NIH dollars- technician positions. Trouble is that I wonder if this select group of potential employees is going to make much of an argument.
Second, we should be hammering the purchase stats...are laboratory big-ticket and consumable items disproportionately obtained from US companies?
Did I mention I love being right? I'm so right. HA! Palazzo, Abel Pharmboy and commenters to PhysioProf's post are wringing their hands about long term structural problems in the NIH-funded biomedical research enterprise.
Give. It. Up. As. A. Bad. Job. People.
The problems are real. But this is not the fix. It isn't. Do not go seeking to argue with POs over how the money should really be spent. Instead, give them what they want. New jobs and new purchases.
Okay, moving along we come to this gem:
Even politics -- long taboo in agency financing decisions -- could play a role.
"We will be sensitive to geographic distribution," said Dr. Kington, who emphasized that the money was intended to stimulate "the nation's" economy.
What a baldfaced LIE! You have to be kidding me. CSR has explicit geographic diversity rules for study section membership to keep the coastal elite research institutions from dominating. NIH has all kinds of special programs for states with minimal NIH funding. You report your Congressional district on the application and I know of at least one prior CongressCritter who's office used to send out congratulatory letters for each new grant award.
"long taboo" like fun.