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War and Research funding

Discussion in 'Physician Scientists' started by 1Path, Mar 4, 2007.

  1. 1Path

    1Path Banned
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    I recently met with my advisor last week who informed me that our department at a MD/PhD school without NIH funding, went from having funding for 6-8 PhD spots to only being able to offer funding for 2. He also said that in recent years approval for grants was around 18% and now it's only 8%:eek: :eek: .

    Up until I spoke to him I was perfectly satisfied to have to borrow a little (~20K/year) to supplement my future MD/PhD education knowing that the NIH wasn't going to cover all of the bill through their program for MD/PhD students and that I would probably receive some but not a ton of support from my advisor. Now, I may have to rethink not applying to MSTP and thank goodness I took time out to build up my credentials to apply. It's one thing to borrow for medical school, but to have to borrow a LOT to pay for an MD/PhD program for the opportunity to graduate 4 years later AND make 100-150K LESS than your classmates is another story.

    My advisor says we have the over 100 billion going towards the war to thank for the changes but I was wondering if anyone else interested in MD/PhD programs not fully funded by the NIH have given this some thought too. I was also wondering if since EVERY other program at NIH was being cut, whether or not any MSTP funding would be cut too.
     
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  3. b&ierstiefel

    b&ierstiefel Guest

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    The war has definitely had a significant, negative impact on NIH funding. It's sad to hear this is affecting MD/PhD education.

    This is a very harsh reality for folks like me too who in the near future may have to apply for K08 funding. Back in the day, anybody could get K-awards. Now, even physician-scientist postdocs at Harvard apply more than once to get that K08 award. Quite depressing.

    Things are projected to get worse for a few years and then perhaps things will stabilize and maybe even improve. But it will be a long time until things get back to where they used to be.

    More and more MD/PhD's who are in residencies now are faced with this horrible prospect. The risks associated with the scientist track is already well known. However, with the funding situation tanking, there are less and less incentives to pursue the scientist track. I know several peers who are just calling it quits and going into clinical practice where they will have a stable job and start making 6-figures in 2-3 years rather than in 8-9 years were they to do a postdoc.
     
  4. greg12345

    greg12345 New Member

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    Yeah, the reality of NIH funding these days is horribly grim. These things tend to go in cycles so the projection is that in 5-10 years or so funding will be on the upswing again and things won't be so dire (assuming the Iraq situation is resolved by then), although this is somewhat hopeful thinking. This is good for me as I will be applying for junior faculty positions in 6 years.

    If the NIH is like it is now when I come out of fellowship, I am done with basic science research, period. It is just not worth it, even with all the years I've put in to pursue a physician scientist career. Probably head down a clinical educator track but private practice would be a very very real possibility.
     
  5. 1Path

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    Man, I hadn't thought far enough ahead to think of what MD/PhD residents may be going through. I think the result will be a scientific gap that is going to be dam near impossible to close against countries like China.
     
  6. totalcommand

    totalcommand Senior Member

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    Man I hate what GWB has done to this country. Hopefully we'll have some changes around here by the time we get out of MSTP training.
     
  7. Doctor&Geek

    Doctor&Geek 25 > 5 / 15 < 8
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    Folks, the President is only going to be in charge until January 2009. No problem if you're still a student.

    Also, this by far isn't the worst time ever for NIH funding.
     
  8. hmm...

    hmm... I yam what I yam

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    But his legacy still remains. We went from a surplus to a huge deficit, there is still a huge trade imbalance and etc etc etc
     
  9. solitude

    solitude Senior Member

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    Really? Have funding rates been lower before? And even so, were there proportionally as many serious scientists with well-planned proposals?
     
  10. Doctor&Geek

    Doctor&Geek 25 > 5 / 15 < 8
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    Editorials by Zerhouni, Niederhuber, and others in Science & Cancer Research (among others) have shown data where in the early 1980s (I think) the NIH budget was cut by tens of percentage points rather than the flat budgets of the current era. Read those editorials for some more perspective in the NIH budget process.

    Niederhuber JE. A look inside the National Cancer Institute budget process: implications for 2007 and beyond. Cancer Res. 2007 Feb 1;67(3):856-62.
    Zerhouni E. Research funding. NIH in the post-doubling era: realities and strategies. Science. 2006 Nov 17;314(5802):1088-90.
     
  11. Doctor&Geek

    Doctor&Geek 25 > 5 / 15 < 8
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    You can't be serious if you'd think wouldn't have at least some deficit with Al Gore or John Kerry in charge post 9/11.

    And what does the huge trade imbalance have to do with the NIH budget, pray tell?
     
  12. gbwillner

    gbwillner Pastafarian
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    Whoa whoa woha people.... Let's not get too carried away. Training grants are still relatively easy to get. RO1 grants are at 10% or whatever, but none of us will be applying for those for a long time.
    Furthermore, there are basic science opportunities that pay extrememly well in the private sector.

    Just take a deep breath before swearing off research forever!
     
  13. totalcommand

    totalcommand Senior Member

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    I agree with the other poster. It's his legacy that matters.

    American stature in science has been lowered and many foreigners have been discouraged from coming here because of tightened immigration policies and simply loss of respect for US foreign policies. Let's face it - it's really the influx of foreign talent that has really kept the US so far ahead of any other nation in scientific research.

    Now, you add the cut in NIH funding on top of that to fund his tax cuts and his nonsensical war in Iraq, and you have a real problem. It going to be very hard for any President politically now to restore that funding without raising taxes. Iraq will be sucking away money even if our troops begin to leave.
     
  14. 1Path

    1Path Banned
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    It's an oxymoron to say that basic science research opportunities exist in the private sector. What I saw happen in big pharma was market driven research. You can be happily going along a project and have your boss (who probably won't even have a Master's degree let alone any type of doctorate) tell you to scrap it in favor of something that's hot and profitable.

    I'd say that the private sector is the LAST place a person will find anything resembling true "basic science" as compared to what is done in academia.
    I strongly believe that there's a TON of homegrown human resources that aren't been tapped into. For example, that middle america teenager who somehow taught himself enough chemistry to make Meth could with the proper guidance, have easily converted that talent for chemisty into a research career.
     
  15. Neuronix

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    Tell that to my labmate. Between his first and second submission for a NIBIB NRSA F31 the percentile cutoff went from top 20th to top 5th. His 7th percentile training grant went unfunded.
     
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  17. 1Path

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    I second this. It's easier to get into med school than get a training grant. In fact, I don't know anyone ANYWHERE who thinks the grant process these days is easy.
     
  18. Jorje286

    Jorje286 Member

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    If NIH cuts funding, wouldn't you expect the private sector to drive research? I mean someone has to do it, right? Or you wouldn't be able to process drugs and tons of other stuff anymore, and the pharma companies would be losing. The problem is that research driven by the private market would be all about profitability, so the biggest winners I guess would be genetists and cell biologists.
     
  19. physicsnerd42

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    Well no, not really. The problem is that basic science research, while it often translates into "useful" products that you can make money off of, is typically "useful" only many years down the road. The typical company in private industry is so focus on the next quarter's profits (since the value of their stock options is tied to how profitable the company is in the short term) that the people who run those companies don't really care about a product that could make them rich 20 years from now. If the government didn't fund it, true basic science would pretty much grind to a halt. Companies would just work on making products from what we know already: "Hey, let's bundle Viagra with an antibiotic and say that it fights STDs and can give you a rise!"

    So, a lack of government funding would be a HUGE obstacle to the progress of science.
     
  20. totalcommand

    totalcommand Senior Member

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    Sure, but I think it's much easier for the government to bring in motivated and talented foreign scientists than to educate the masses to the point that they will have the motivation. And, I think getting the top people from countries outside the US will always be better than getting the middle of the road people here in the US who wouldn't otherwise pursue science.
     
  21. DropkickMurphy

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    I'm guessing you haven't dealt with many meth cookers have you? Most of them don't know the chemistry involved. Why do you think the labs blow up or catch fire so damn frequently?
     
  22. 1Path

    1Path Banned
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    And I'm guessing you have!:rolleyes::laugh: That's why so many of the labs don't blow up and people end up with the worst addition since crack cocaine.
     
  23. 1Path

    1Path Banned
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    Are you an American? What makes you think that people here are "middle of the road"??? "Middle of the road" depends on WHERE you draw the lines, you know.

    This isn't about talent, it's about cheap labor. Why train someone for the PhD from middle America, when you can hire a FULLY trainined post doc(MD/PhD to boot) from China who's willing to work more hours for LESS money?:confused: This is the ONLY reason I can it as "better" but for whom? Just call me an old fashioned "loyalist", my lab WILL consist of primarily of those born-n-bread in the good ol' US of A because it won't be long before that foreign born investment in academic capital decides that science in their HOME country is best.
     
  24. Neuronix

    Neuronix Total nerd
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    I really agree with your sentiment and wish I could say the same thing. The problem we've had in the labs I've worked in is that there's much more demand for post-docs than supply. Of course we'd prefer to have American born and trained post-docs above all else. But unless they were grad students here, they're very hard to come across. This is true for alot of labs I've seen unless the PI is a real big name.

    It comes down to the pay per hour ratio and the job prospects in academics. We talk about this issue for MD/PhDs, but even most PhD people don't want to do post-docs these days. If the foreign post-doc supply dries up, I suspect science would pretty much grind to a near halt unless Post-doc salaries went up significantly or the job market brightened for post-doc trained researchers.

    In medicine there's a tightly controlled influx of new cheap labor through the anti-competitive process that is internship/residency and the match, but not so in research.
     
  25. 1Path

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    I think it's just a matter of time before this happens, which is why the US needs to do something NOW instead of ALWAYS reacting after the **** has hit the fan.

    My simplictic view, RAISE the benefits/salary/perks for post docs. I always argue that one of the reasona that the NIH attarcts so many folks is due in large part to the perks: loan forgiveness, full benefits, free health insurances, ect. And the pay ain't all bad either!
     
  26. Neuronix

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    With what money ;) Many of the PIs outside the NIH are struggling to get grants funded (as per this thread). The Universities are out to milk the research dollars, so they have little incentive to fix it. We'd have to hit the wall or the NIH would have to guideline it in their guidelines for post-docs to get anything fixed...
     
  27. DropkickMurphy

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    I'm a fire officer in the county that ranked #2 for meth labs a couple of years back. So, yes, I have dealt with more than a few of them....and we do see a lot of lab fires (I think the count last year for our response area alone was 10 or so). The frequency of mishaps- chemical spills, fires, explosions, etc- doesn't affect production much because of the sheer number of labs.
     
  28. 1Path

    1Path Banned
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    This is getting way off topic, but from what I learned in neuropharm, I don't understand how ANYONE kicks a Meth habit! Man, just some powerful stuff!

    I know, right?:scared:
     
  29. DropkickMurphy

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    Yeah, no kidding. Wretched stuff......
     
  30. DogFaceMedic

    DogFaceMedic Member

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    Agree with the general view here that more money is needed for research. But, blaming your least favorite political faction is off base.

    Academia has horribly mis-used the money taxpayers have given the ivory tower. An enormous amount of grants go to suspect research - actually a lot of it is near fraudulent that fooled evaluation committees or had patronage from the dept chair or friends on the committees ("You approve my research and I'll approve yours...")

    We cannot expect taxpayers to fork over millions so that we can pursue research as we determine it. We had that once and blew it in the 70's and 80's -- similarly to how physicians over-charged insurance and we got HMOs.

    THe private sector has the lead in research and does the most. If you respond to the needs of the society, you can be rewarded. Sitting in an Ivory Tower expecting the poor masses to worship at our feet is self-delusional. I think many academics have blown our credibility by over using the rhetoric that the taxpayer, dept chair, or private company will have to wait for our results in our own time.
     
  31. Doctor&Geek

    Doctor&Geek 25 > 5 / 15 < 8
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    While I do have some sympathies with the above poster, private sector "does the most" because it does the lowest risk projects with the biggest profit potential. Big and paradigm-shifting ideas are the purview of publically and philathropically funded science simply because the sunk costs and risks are too much for private industry to want to deal with. The last 60-some odd years of biomedical progress are proof in the pudding for the US's primacy in basic science research.

    Even so, I think many of the issues with the poster above are addressed in Zerhouni's roadmap, a way to improve output of real and tangible therapies from basic research.

    It is inevitable that as other nations develop (especially those that value scholarship) US primacy in biomedical research will gradually decline. I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing. We ought not be concerned with the secondary nationalist interest, and more concerned with discovery. In short, I don't care who you are as long as you're an effective scientist with the goal of improving human health.
     
  32. DogFaceMedic

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    Private sector is frequently bad-mouthed in academia, but it both definately has a significant role to play and definately has its limitations. No solution is perfect.

    Academics could sell themselves a lot better to people in the money. We have all heard of the story where a nice old couple was politely blown off by Harvard's president because they wanted to name a building after their son. So, Mr and Mrs Stanford went somewhere else - Mr Duke did the same. In fact, Stanford 5 yrs ago was given 100,000,000 for research. When academics attack private business, they lose support. When academics tries to work together with business there can be more opportunities.

    When I'm in charge I'll support your research if you support mine.
     
  33. totalcommand

    totalcommand Senior Member

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    I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that the average person running a meth lab will be "middle of the road".

    What makes you think that a "middle of the road" person here in the US is any better than a middle of the road person elsewhere? The talent that we bring in from foreign countries is usually far superior to "middle of the road" from any country.

    Don't you dare question my patriotism. Just because I believe in change doesn't mean that I'm not American.

    BS.

    Labs have to go through significant hurdles to get trained foreign postdocs in their labs. It would be much easier for them to bring in the middle America PhDs you describe. But they don't, and that's because they are going after top Talent, that's just as good as the top talent here.

    Furthermore, the talented scientists from abroad who come here mostly stay here and become Americans. Once they have their citizenship, they are just as American as you and me (if you still consider my citizenship and patriotism valid) - and they contribute not only their brains, but the education of their families as well.

    I got news for you. They are already deciding that their HOME country is best, and that is already hurting science in the US.

    Last, take a look at Nobel Prizes in Medicine and Physiology. http://www.fasebj.org/cgi/content/full/20/9/1281

    87 American winners, 27 foreign born. That's 31%. The number of foreign born Americans among the general population: 11%.

    Foreign-born scientists are extremely valuable to the future of science in this country.
     
  34. 1Path

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    So the answer is obvioulsy no, you are not an American. Based on your post, it figures.

    YOU brought up that middle or the road comment ( a VERY UNamerican thing to say, BTW). So I'll leave YOU to continue to put your foot in your mouth defending it.

    My ancestors BUILT this country, so I'll question your so called patiotism and anything else related to the fact that US needs to spend more money building it's OWN human resources in the area of scientific discovery and less importing foriegn post docs. Sure, the research will experiecne a TEMPORARY set back, but better now than later when countries like China and India become real research powerhouses.

    Working 100 hours/week in the lab, sleeping in the lab and working for peanuts doesn't make you "talented". It makes you willing to be someone elses cheap labor force. Can me snooty, but I have a TON more personal value than that.

    Then they bring in more foreign post docs and the vicious cycle of excluding Americans/relying so heavily on Foreigners continues. Listen, everyone know that technically speaking, 20th century America became strong on the backs of immigrants. Foreigners working together collectively to make America strong. But what I see happening in research is COMPLETELY different. Not only do I see at least 50% foreigners in labs RUN by foreigners despite making up only 11% of the population, I see the obvious exclusion of AMERICAN minorities and women in these labs too.
    American born scientist are extremely MORE valuabe to the future of science in this country. And their more willing to train OTHER Americans too!:cool:
     
  35. ThatOne

    ThatOne New Member

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    Whoa.

    I think some people here might need a prescription for the following:

    [​IMG]

    Indications: Take as needed to suppress irrational anger and urges for name-calling.

    I don't think anyone here wants anything but the best for the country in which they live, work, and dream. There are a lot of good points being made, but recently some things are being said that are purely inflammatory not only to the participants in the thread, but also to others who may be reading. I really love that this forum is one of the most civil agree-to-disagree places I've ever stumbled upon in cyberspace, and it would be awesome if we could all try to uphold that tradition.
     
  36. 1Path

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    Has anyone here ever asked themselves why medicine hasn't become like science? I'm thinking the strong lobby of the AMA is the reason! Imagine how much salaries would drop if foreign doctors were allowed to practice here in large numbers. What about the standard of care, anyone think that would change?

    No doubt, these are "delicate" issues that few are willing to take a stand on. Maybe folks want to be PC, maybe folks are "scared". Perhaps if US scientists hadn't spent so much time "chilling", post dcos salary's wouldn't be so insanely LOW. Frank talk should be the order of the day here.:thumbup:
     
  37. rishi

    rishi Junior Member

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    Weren't you people talking about funding rates for MD/PhD slots? Stop trying to put other people down. Just work hard and you can make your contribution to science.
    In times like these, when funding is tough to get, we have to stick together as scientists not polarize ourselves over petty issues like nationality. Congress won't change NIH budgets unless we, as scientists, show them that there is reason to change. And that means that we must quit complaining and show them that we've learned something useful.
     
  38. Jorje286

    Jorje286 Member

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    Nationalism sucks big time. :) I'm with totalcommand.
     
  39. 1Path

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    I'm not trying to put anyone down, I'm simply stating the facts that apparently some people lack the backbone to deal with. No one is talking about NOT working together, I'm talking about spending more of those limited hard earned AMERICAN tax dolloars on AMERICAN talent. And I don't apologize for feeling this way.

    Let me put it another way. There are VERY few researchers in the area of breast cancer in African American women, who BTW suffer higher rates mortality and morbidity costing this country millions of healthcare dollars. Hell yeah, I'm angry that as an American woman who WANTS to do research in this MUCH NEEDED area despite the "loss" in future income for doing so, my financial options are limited while some one else who wasn't born here can get funding to study the reproductive habits of Ameoba.

    In times like these especially since we're at war, American support/research interests should be FIRST!
     
  40. Jorje286

    Jorje286 Member

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    I don't really want to get too much in this discussion cause I'm not American, but it'd be interesting for you to look at this:

    http://www.vdare.com/rubenstein/050425_nd_tables.htm#t1
     
  41. physicsnerd42

    physicsnerd42 Member

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    Okay, a few things:

    First, you aren't qualified to decide what's valuable research and what isn't. Spending $10 billion dollars on a superconducting supercollider might seem like a waste of money to you since all it's good for is giving us a better understanding of particle physics, but particle physics gave us PET, etc. When the electron was discovered it was useless. Now our entire society depends on understanding the electron and putting that knowledge to use with electronics. The point is that you can never know where "useless" research will take us. So, you don't know that research into "the mating habits of ameoba" is more valuable than a little extra research into breast cancer.

    Second, I reject the premise that the purpose of research should be to increase the might of America. The purpose of research is to advance the understanding humans have of the universe. Nations rise and fall but science will last as long as humans keep it alive, independent of the nationality of those people. Let the DOD advance US interests and the NIH and NSF advance human understanding.

    Last, I take offense to the idea that foreign born scientists are a drain on America. I may have been born elsewhere but I'm in the process of becoming an American citizen and I plan to stay here and do research and mentor scientists here when I'm done with the MD/PhD. You're really trying to tell me that I'm really less valuable than American-born scientist just because I was born 50 miles north of the US border?
     
  42. mudphud2b

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    First, I would always want researchers choosing what is most valuable to study for themselves rather than a politician/businessman. A tic-for-tac funding system is deplorable, but it is not inevitable in government financing. A well-structured, independently monitored system can be set up! When you have an administration that believes in the possibility of good government, you'll be surprised at how talent comes together to make it work.

    I agree that private industry can be a magnificent force for good! In fact, Big Pharma has been responsible for many great medical advances over the past century. But, private concerns are necessarily limited in scope due to the long time, high cost, and high risk of new drug development. Thus, basic research that can lead to real discovery (and totally new therapeutic options) requires public financing because industry must be myopic if it is to have manageable risk and adequate return (most pharma money, not spent on advertising, is spent on later stage clinical trials, not basic science). Also, I've talked with academics who work on drug development with pharma and they find that pharma is quicker to accept drug ideas that involve continuous treatments over time as opposed to one-off curative therapy, opening another door for government financing.

    So I agree: Academia and business should cooperate! That said, there are important caveats to this as money in academia can corrupt. Cooperation can incentivize stubbornness. Basic researchers already have plenty of incentive to think their approach or their way of thinking about a system is the correct one. Add financial gain and you could have a capable researcher becoming unwilling to accept contradictory data or outside interpretations of his own work. Further, collaboration and cooperation between labs could become hampered when money is involved. Research can be stymied when profs divide their work between the university and the business (not wanting the university to assert IP rights over the research and take a share of the money). In short, having said I support businesss-academic cooperation, the Ivory Tower is not entirely wrong-headed in its suspicion of private money (we're scientists, we should be skeptical!).

    Government funding is not at unheard-of low levels, but it's not keeping pace with researchers whose proposals are being rejected at too high a rate. For sure, the president has several wars going on and needs to penny pinch elsewhere to appease financial conservatives. We're in bad shape and I don't think it will get better anytime soon. Hopefully, a leader will emerge who respects science and is determined to cure disease by increasing research funding and protecting the NIH from the shambles that is our fiscal policy.
     
  43. gbwillner

    gbwillner Pastafarian
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    1Path is out of line.

    Perhaps we should remember that as academic scientists we are at the mercy of the giving nature of American Taxpayers. We produce nothing for the average man that they need, which boils down to jobs, housing, food, and entertainment. Our entire existence is in their hands. Industry is self-sustaining, and they can do whatever they please as far as I'm concerned. The problem is when we start to demand things- like pay-raises- and make ridiculous claims like who should be funded or not and what type of research is important and what is not. It's that kind of French-esque attitude that may one day dry up all our funding and cause us to get invaded by Germany. ;)
     
  44. 1Path

    1Path Banned
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    Retract your claws, dude. You sound a LOT like those folks who felt that in the study of the things related to "Mr.Johnson", 'tis better to create viagra than find a cure for Prostate cancer. But based on the anger in your post, perhaps you should leave the country.:laugh: And learn how to read;) And get that chip off your shoulder!:D You may not like what I said but don't fool yourself. I'm SURE I'm not the only one who feels this way.

    Disagree = out of line. That's scientifically sound!:rolleyes:
     
  45. 1Path

    1Path Banned
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    First off, your post was great!

    My PI works with some BIG Big Pharma folks and I agree that they are more interested in treatments over time, but perhaps NOT for the reasons you may think they're interested. Treatments over time = MORE money. There is no impetus that I can see, to create a 1 pill "cure all" for most diseases/conditions.

    Good point! We need a big time scientist to run for the presidency. Fauci anyone?:laugh:
     
  46. Jorje286

    Jorje286 Member

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    I think there's only ONE angry poster here. ;)
     
  47. 1Path

    1Path Banned
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    Cool!!! :cool: But at least I can read and I don't have a chip on my shoulder! :laugh: And FYI, I specifically stated my anger at the funding situation.

    Now do you have anything at all to contribute to the question originally posted?:confused:
     
  48. DogFaceMedic

    DogFaceMedic Member

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    Good post and discussion. I think we agree on more than we disagree.
    In a better world it would be nice for gov't to give support to good science for the long term benefit of society. Practically, however, many of our colleagues in science and medicine have wasted public funds for suspect research. They need to be supervised and held accountable, which unfortunately means the politicians get a say in what we do. Democracy isn't pretty.

    And, just to throw some meat to the inmates: being born in America incurs no special philosophic status; rather, it is the belief in the freedom of human consciousness (i.e., liberty) that makes us American. Being raised here usually provides us with that understanding, but not always. Many foreign born scientists/physicians truly know what political and religious freedom mean and why they left the corrupt politics of thier homeland.
     
  49. solitude

    solitude Senior Member

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    I hate to get involved in this row, but from a neutral observer's standpoint, the Chip On Shoulder Complex was best exemplified by the following:

    1Path arguing that "[her] ancestors BUILT this country", therefore, she is entitled to research dollars moreso than a foreigner who is equally trained.

    My ancestors built this country too: I'm a direct descendant of two of the first Jamestown inhabitants. I won't even go into the other ways that my ancestors built this country (think Constitution), but I don't believe it has anything to do with my entitlement to research dollars. May the best researcher win.

    Now, if you are arguing that you deserve funding because you are a minority woman and you - not to mention your ancestors - are/were disadvantaged, that would perhaps be a more plausible argument. However, let's not forget that there are policies (affirmative action, minority fellowships, etc.)in place for these very reasons, many of which do not afford the same advantages to minorities whose plight (and ancestors' plight) may have been similarly treacherous.

    I hope this isn't offensive--as a white male, and from firsthand experience, I'm always afraid to even broach this topic for fear of vicious, ad hominem reprisals.
     
  50. 1Path

    1Path Banned
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    In lean financial times, yes AMERICANS should have first dibs on research money and quite honestly there probably aren't many if any, grad students in my department who disagree.
    Wow! I have relatives going back to Jamestown too and Ghana, and Ireland, and Spain. Hell, we may even be distant cousins and my apologies to anyone who may be hurt by the idea that a minority woman shares ancestors with you so don't worry, I won't "out you" on Oprah :laugh: Common dude, you didn't think ALL my ancestors arrived in chains did you, Cuz? :confused: Quite a few of them were ALREADY here.
    None taken. Backbone present here!;)
     
  51. totalcommand

    totalcommand Senior Member

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    I am American and have been all my life.

    I really have no reason to defend my statement, it's pretty obvious it's true. And think you're the one who should actually make a valid argument instead of resorting to personal attacks.

    Let me make this extremely clear. I do not care one bit who your ancestors are. I do not care who your father is. I do not care who your mother is. All I care about is who YOU are, and who my fellow Americans are, regardless of whether they are born here or naturalized. An American is an American is an American is an American.... I am no more American than you, and you are no more American than me. I think your ancestors might be offended that you today are taking credit for their brave actions hundreds of years ago, instead of standing up on your own.

    Well it's good you're finally conceding that it will be a setback. Now all we have to argue about (other than my patriotism and citizenship) is whether or not the setback will be permanent or temporary.

    My argument is that most of the postdocs who come here become naturalized US citizens, and in the long term they will aid this country as much if not more than homegrown Americans of lower talent.

    Could I call you xenophobic then? The postdocs I know from abroad not only work hard, but they are hella smart too - they are extremely talented individuals. Why else would labs have gone through all the effort to bring them here?

    Let me guess - a naturalized citizen is STILL a foreigner to you? How many generations must my ancestors live here before I can become American? Science in the US became strong on the back of immigrants. Take a look at Nobel Prizes awarded before WWII and after WWII (look at the article I linked above).

    The obvious exclusion of minorities and women is a separate issue. I too believe that these groups have been marginalized in science. But that's why we need affirmative action, not decreased foreign scientists.

    You simply haven't made any arguments, just loaded statements. Please post an argument, with some actual facts, otherwise it's all just fluff.
     
  52. Jorje286

    Jorje286 Member

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    What about those who acquired American citizenship after they moved to the US, 1path? Do Americans who were born in the US deserve research grants more than them, and so immigrants who earned US citizenship are second class citizens? Or maybe it's more than that, it's a function of whose ancestors came before? :rolleyes: And do you really think the US can be competitive and keep the lead over China and India if it heavily restricted the entry of foreign scientists? I was quite shocked when you said that immigrants were responsible for a lot of them boom the US got through in the 20th century, yet you think this doesn't apply to science. Clearly, the concentration of capital and research grants attracted the best minds in research in the world, and it still does. And like someone said, most of those who get their science training in the US don't go back to their countries, because the resources in the US are much more important, and that's why they came in the first place.

    edit:
    OK, I see that totalcommand made nearly the same arguments, so don't bother.
     

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