The Office of Extramural Research at the NIH has launched a working group tasked with the examinationof the current and future state of the extramural research force.

  • What is the right size of the workforce?
  • What are the appropriate types of positions that should be supported to allow people to have successful careers and to continue to advance biomedical and behavioral sciences?
  • What is the best way to support these various positions?
  • What types of training should be provided?

That would be you, DearReader, at least those of you working in one way or another on scientific projects funded by the NIH.
Princeton University (sorry about that) President Shirley Tilghman is quoted in a Science Insider note from J. Kaiser as saying the following in an upcoming HHMI bulletin interview

“changes could be made to the structure of the typical biomedical research laboratory.” Specifically, she suggests reducing the number of trainees, who currently outnumber technicians 10 to 1, and increasing the number of “permanent employees…. We need to explore such options.”

I agree.

Read the rest of this entry »

It's complicated

May 3, 2011

Some idjit Twitted:

The fact that you cannot grapple with complexity of feelings and ethics does not make you intelligent or superior…it makes you a teenager

and followed it up with

Adolescents are sure that they are right. And they are. It is just that the world is wrong. Soooo wrong.

This came during interesting times. America’s EnemyNumberOne Osama bin Laden had been killed in a nighttime raid straight out of one of those rah-rah paperbacks you read on the plane. Or maybe out of ’24’. The TeeVee show. Lord love us but the name “Jack Bauer” was trending on twitter. An unseemly celebration sprang up outside the White House as the news emerged that bin Laden had been killed.

Many on the Twitts and blogs that I read were dismayed. Dismayed that we should be celebrating the assassination of one man. No matter what he had done to us as a nation. Dismayed that anyone should be joking or making light of the situation. A man has died…and at the hands of us all. That is what a war means. We are complicit in the decisions of our government. Even if we oppose them. And we have to live with that. And, I think, own it.

It is immature to insist that it has nothing to do with you because you are agin’ it. Doesn’t work that way. You are a part of this world, you are a part of this country, my US readers. We all benefit, if there are any benefits to emerge, and we are all put at risk from fall out. That is what a civil society is…kind of like wedding vows “for better or for worse”, is it not?

And it is not being “unintelligent” to joke or grapple with complexity in a situation like this. Out here in the real world, life IS complex. It is “unintelligent” to pretend it is anything else.

I have been most comfortable listening to this (NSFW):

I never watched the movie so this is new to me. It is pitch perfect in a situation like this.

Perhaps even more than the wiseass creators of it even knew at the time….or will ever know. Or maybe than they ever intended. The truly dense may hear nothing more than Toby Keith’s asinine hit.

But it is brilliant.