Indirect Cost Snooping

October 26, 2009

I had a query from a reader today which put me onto something new. So I though a few of my readers might like the opportunity for yet more time wasting critical career-related research.
One of the many past times of the NIH-funded research scientist is best described as…whinging…about indirect costs. Otherwise known as “overhead”, the indirect costs of an NIH award are that bit of extra cash above and beyond the amount needed for the actual conduct of the research plan that is awarded to the University.
Scientists are exceptionally fond of one particular complaint which is “Where in the hell is my overhead going since you re-charge me for every dang thing I can think of that might be overhead costs?” Arguing about local mistreatment of your heroic golden goose scientist is all fun and games but there is another complaint which is even more entertaining because of inter-institutional warfare. It goes something like this:

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