Storifying a Twittersation on NIH Grants, effort and the salary cap

October 27, 2011

This whole storify thing seems intriguing so I’m doing a test case. Nothing fancy and no editorializing. Just the stream at present.

[View the story “New Story” on Storify]

No Responses Yet to “Storifying a Twittersation on NIH Grants, effort and the salary cap”

  1. whimple Says:

    Please don’t do this. It makes you blog unreadable.


  2. drugmonkey Says:

    Really whimple? One post makes the entire blog “unreadable”?


  3. Mordecai Says:

    Actually it does; scrolling past it is tricky, since it seems to expand again whenever you reach the bottom.


  4. Joat-mon Says:



  5. drugmonkey Says:

    it’s *one* post dudes.. click the recent posts if you need to bypass it. jeez


  6. whimple Says:

    Sure DM, blame the customers for management’s boneheaded moves. 🙂


  7. Drugmonkey Says:

    Hahahahaha! Always, whimple, always….

    Now if the customers would just get their behinds on Twitter this wouldn’t be necessary!


  8. Funky Fresh Says:


    You can thank me for the traffic later.


  9. Physician Scientist Says:

    OMG! I agree with Whimple for once.


  10. Namnezia Says:

    Why does it keep expanding when you reach the bottom?


  11. What kind of fucken dippeshitte would possibly want to read this illiterate gibberish in the first place, regardless of whether it has been “Shitified” or not? There’s a goddamn motherfucken reason that sentences and paragraphs were invented in the first place, and that people spent the last couple thousand years writing in them instead of in arbitrarily character-limited spurts of verbal feces. Do you really need to pollute your half-decent blogge with this kind of sewage?


  12. katiesci Says:

    I appreciated the post, DM! Since I don’t follow all of those people on Twitter it was a little more difficult to follow the conversation there.


  13. A little difficult to read but if you stay with it, you walk away feeling like Gears is an idiot.


  14. drugmonkey Says:

    …then my work is done, GR. 🙂


  15. If you read through all that illiterate gibberish, *you* are the idiot.


  16. Susan Says:

    RT! @Comerade PhysioPunk @whimple I cnt fnd the infrmatn in th mddle of all th mndlss repetition (excuse me, “retweeting”). #signal-to-noise #twitter-is-unbearable. #knowwhatImean?

    Does anyone else see irony in the repetition of jargony babble in a character-limited format? I guess I just don’t get twitter.


  17. Dr Becca Says:

    I think the major problem with this conversation is that for whatever reason, Gears was operating under the assumption that PIs getting salary support from their NIH grants can and would over-“charge” the NIH for their salaries (i.e., ask for a total of more than 100% effort between multiple grants), when to my knowledge, this is not at all the case.

    First of all, every grant application must include things like Other Support and Budget Justification, where your financial situation is laid out in a reasonable amount of detail. It’s my understanding that it’s someone’s job to make sure everything adds up.

    Second, your salary is determined by the institution, so even if you somehow managed to sneak by NIH, it’s not like your institution would be all, “oh, you got all this extra money–we’ll just go right ahead and tell payroll to add that to your direct deposit.”


  18. DrLizzyMoore Says:

    Dr Becca-I think that you hit on part of Gears’ problem/confusion. The biomed funding structure is different compared to basic science (NOT better, just different). For a while I was confused about whether he was pissed that some labs seem to get ‘all’ the $$$ and/or if one PI said he/she was going to work on one project, then starts ‘moonlighting’ on another (which also confuses me, because in my short experience it is often hard to tell where one project ends and another begins). The reality is if you are running a biomed research lab, you need money for you, money for your peeps, and money for your SCIENCE! It often takes multiple grants to make this happen so that everything moves forward, you get tenure or keep your damn position. Rat race or not, that’s the reality.

    For me, that twittersation did a couple of things:
    1. Gears needs a hug.
    2. We’re going to feel the cut somewhere with these salary cap shenanigans and it isn’t going to come from Administration or the High Salaried. It will come from the non-tenured and start-ups and students.
    3. I am no longer going to judge highly funded people (previously characterized as selfish bastards scarfing up ever decreasing funding budgets) because when you’ve got the momentum and the ideas and people to run with it-you have to take advantage and just go! Maybe I’m too naive, but I don’t think that the majority of people go out for funding, ‘just because they can’.


  19. drugmonkey Says:

    Dr. Becca:
    you are correct in your understanding.

    I think Gears was just not thinking things through clearly and is coming from a very common point of motivation. It boils down to a sort of visceral belief that things are hard (for oneself) because those-guys-over-there are greedy, have way too much grant support, do little with it and all would be peachy if those-guys-over-there had less.

    I think Gears may not have fully understood that Program has to approve any significant change (25% below what was reviewed and initially funded, cumulative across the funding interval) in effort. Nevertheless it seemed to emerge that Gears didn’t like that *anyway*.

    There was also a LOT of confusion about majority of effort because the person was fixated on 100% effort and talking about other responsibilities, the little whoopsie area of writing grants on the dime of a prior award, etc. My attempt to bear down on the real issues by suggesting we discuss 90% effort was unacknowledged. Still, I remained convinced that really, in the heart of hearts, Gears was just not down with the notion of persons spending the majority of their time working on NIH funded grants. Again, I see this as a “blame it on those guys over there” response that stems from his/her personal situation and trying to improve the prospects for people like him/herself.

    There was some element in Gears twitterage that suggested a very small potatoes, conservative and highly inflexible approach to doing science under a funded project. Perhaps his/her field simply doesn’t move quickly and changes in direction are rare? Could be the case.

    I don’t think that the majority of people go out for funding, ‘just because they can’.

    Speaking for myself, this is correct. I do it for a combination of reasons, of which the two most dominant are
    1) We need to do this coolio science
    2) This is necessary to maintain the long term viability of my laboratory

    #2 is, of course, the long term planning so that #1 can happen.


  20. odyssey Says:

    We’re going to feel the cut somewhere with these salary cap shenanigans and it isn’t going to come from Administration or the High Salaried. It will come from the non-tenured and start-ups and students.

    I wonder to what extent it will also be taken out of the hides of the tenured but not Highly Salaried. I can easily imagine the state institution I’m at increasing the % salary they require me to pay off my grants in order to free up salary money to give to the Highly Salaried in order to retain them.

    Fun times are ahead…


  21. DrLizzyMoore Says:

    Odyssey, I agree….once tenured (or at any stage along tenure-trackdom) they may require an increase in % of salary that *you* have to ‘cover’. …I’ve just decided whatever the decision is to cover the missing money that it will suck. This way, I’m not taken by surprise by the suckage, only by the degree that said suckage will affect me.


  22. WestCoastNewb Says:

    The storify was educational and a worthy read, but you really need to fix the formatting. For whatever reason as you scroll down it auto shoots you back up to the top of the storify. Really annoying and thus the comments about readability.


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