Thursday, April 29, 2004

Young Biologists Rejected as NIH Budget Squeezes Training Grants

The prestigious NIH training grants that support nearly 18,000 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows are in trouble as the size of the stipend they offer increases, while the pot of money that funds them is unchanged...

Walter Schaffer, the acting director of the NIH's Office of Extramural Programs who is in charge of training grants, says he does not have an overall 2004 figure for the success rates of training grant applications. "You are going to have to cut back on the total number of people you fund in order to finance cost-of-living increases,"says Schaffer...

But the size of individual stipends given by the NIH has been increasing in response to complaints that many young scientists are underpaid and, in effect, exploited (see chart). After fulfilling commitments to existing five-year grants, including cost-of-living increases, little is left for new grants or competitive renewals, officials say.

"so, you guys want to actually get paid a living wage? we just want to remind you that you are hurting science. and being selfish. hey, other people want to be exploited too."


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