February 7, 2011

Oh my. Has it really been four years?
And really, we are still talking about the same stuff round about these parts, are we not?

Mozart would have been dead for 7 years…

Biomedical research scientists in the US (and worldwide) are bright, highly educated and creative folks. Most are dedicated to the public good, undergoing years of low pay while fueling the greatest research apparatus ever built- the NIH-funded behemoth that is American health science. Yet they persist in various types of employment stress and uncertainty for years, with minimal confidence of ever attaining a “real job”. It is dismaying to realize that by the time he received his first R01 (the major NIH research grant) Mozart would have been dead for 7 years (tipohat to Tom Lehrer). The official noises coming from the National Institutes of Health, and even some individual institutes such as the National Institute on Drug Abuse (scroll for comments on the young investigator) are positive, sure. We’ve heard such sentiments before, however, and most objective measures show long, uninterrupted dismal trends for the young and developing scientist.

Some things have improved since I wrote this. The NIH started taking things a little more serious with respect to unending “training” and the slow transition to independence via their first genuine broadly-available transition mechanism (the K99/R00), Early Stage Investigator checkbox (with special funding priorities) and (yikes) DP5 award. But we still have people lamenting the job market and claiming that their local institution refuses to hire anyone who comes without pre-existing grant funding.

David Kroll had a recent post up at Take as Directed that discussed matters related to Hermitage’s post on the Academia Ghetto. In the course of his musings, Kroll mentioned this post of mine which he found to be related. So, here ya go.

This post originally appeared April 28, 2008.
The irrepressible PhysioProf had a recent post pointing out, among other things, that women had motivation to blog pseudonymously in part because of a certain species of stalker-commenter. In the discussion I arrived back at a more traditional topic for women in science careers:

when Abel says:

I have learned so much from people like FSP, MsPhD, Zuska, et al., that we have a long way to go in rehabilitating or eliminating fascist, racist, sexist men.

and Dr. Jekyll says:

Bravo for standing up for women,

I’m starting to get a little WTF myself. Is it really so rare for men to vocally stand up for women? rare for them to ask “wtf? where are the women on this symposium slate? why aren’t we interviewing any women?”. really so rare for them to say “um, colleague-dude, that comment really wasn’t cool.”
is it really so rare?

Many women chimed in with “yes” in the comments, for the most part kindly leaving unspoken “you irredeemable doofus! although one did question my terrestrial attachment. Dr. Jekyll and/or Mrs. Hyde went so far as to take in up in a post.

Read the rest of this entry »


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