I had no idea.
Many of us PIs in the US are used to trying to suss out, hopefully subtly, whether or not potential postdocs who are approaching us are US citizens.
This is not because we are all jingoistic bigots, it is rather because the NIH NRSA training grant (institutional or individual) requires that supported trainees

must be a citizen or a non-citizen national of the United States or have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence

So if a potential postdoc qualified for the NRSA, there is at least the possibility of landing NIH support for the person’s stipend.
Conversely the thinking is that a non-qualifying person would be more limited in the types of additional support that are available.
Well a kind reader has alerted me to the F05 International Neuroscience Fellowship announcement which has been around at least since 2006. The purpose?

The goal of the International Neuroscience Fellowship (INF) is to advance the training of qualified foreign neuroscientists and clinicians at the early or mid-career level, by enhancing their basic, translational or clinical research skills in a research setting in the United States (U.S.). This program aims to strengthen the intellectual capital of neuroscience research in international institutions. Awardees are expected to pursue future independent and productive careers, which stimulate research in the neurosciences on a global scale.
Eligible individual applicants include non-immigrant foreign scientists at the early or mid-career level.

Sweet! NIH fellowships for foreign postdocs. wait, what about that tricky language about the host countries having to be sufficiently disadvantaged?

“All applicants must be from a low- to middle-income country based on Gross National Income per capita classified by the World Bank

As my correspondent notes: “Scroll down to “lower middle income countries”. Note the presence of both China and India on that list.“.
Well, all good then, amirite?
I mean c’mon, don’t be worried domestic postdocs. After all

All applicants must have a doctoral or equivalent degree, and an endorsement from their home institution, with a guaranteed appointment upon completion of the fellowship.

What could go wrong?

Say what?

For example, Paul would slash funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by 28 percent and for the National Institutes of Health by 37 percent. (An ounce of prevention might be worth a pound of cure but I guess we’re not paying for either one.)

Surely I heard that one wrong.

HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES…………..$26,510,000,000. (26%)
Notes: FDA is cut by $230,000,000; Indian Health Service is cut by $650 million; CDC is cut by $1.17 billion; NIH by $5.8 billion.

And Sen Paul’s overview [PDF].

More thoughts on Professor Noonan’s lengthy criticism of the current state of NIH extramural research funding.
Realizing that not all aspiring scientists have what it takes to compete in this business, and recognizing that there needs to be a winnowing process at some point in the matriculation of an aspiring academic researcher, NIH has taken it upon itself to make this at the competitive renewal stage rather than the traditional initial funding stage. In doing this they have taken a substantial portion of an ever diminishing pool of funds for competitive renewals and established investigator grants, and thrown them into a large assortment of new investigator awards and special projects. What this results in is a very limited pool of remaining funds being competed for by a very large pool of independent investigators that includes Nobel Laureates, National Academy Members, research institute scientists and academic scientists. Unfortunately, the vast majority of academic scientists, with their teaching responsibilities and small lab operations, are relegated to the very little that is left after the funding initiatives and Wal-Mart operations have captured their piece of the pie.

“their piece”?

Says it all, doesn’t it? That and the part about the winnowing process being at the initial funding stage. BS. Look, perhaps it is true that once upon a time anyone who managed to land a grant and then pretty much had a pulse could keep getting renewed. And now it is a little harder.

But the entry card for starting scientists is no easier. Every bit of demographic and funding success data supports this. So the notion that there is a flood of easy-street new appointees competing for Established investigator’s private funding pool is a bit ridiculous.

More than likely these poor Established investigator’s would not be competitive for *jobs*, never mind NIH grants, if they had faced the same competitive environment our postdocs face today.

Maybe people like Professor Noonan should be grateful for the easy run they had because of circumstances, not intrinsic worthiness. And then, you know, STFU about “their” reserved pool of sinecure funding, and how “unqualified” reviewers are robbing them of it.

I shit you not. All scientific like.

lekking is relatively uncommon and mainly confined to birds – although some fish and insects do it. In a lek, basically, a large group of eligible and horny bachelors get together in the same place, fairly close to each other. They then each do some kind of individual (although, rarely it can be coordinated) mating display. They may show impressive feathers, or brightly colored throat sacs…They may call out, do an ornate dance, jump up and down, or even jostle or fight each other. Their main goal is to show that they are the biggest, strongest, most healthy males in the group…
In any case, by whatever definition of sexiness this particular species uses, the females in the area all gather around and watch the males in an attempt to determine who they should mate with.

Or maybe it was football and cheerleaders. Something like that.

Scientific collaborations, like relationships, have their ups and downs. Sometimes, the douchenozzle lets you down. But you know what?


This is for one of my blog peeps. This is totes how I picture you as a scientist. 🙂