Grad.Students (ab)use

Richard Gordon gordonr at cc.UManitoba.CA
Sun Oct 15 10:53:58 EST 1995

Dear Alex,

I have long involved grad students and postdocs in the grant writing
process, and now often ask that they produce the first draft. This doesn't
simply reduce my work, but gives them a chance to formulate what they want
to do in their research. It's voluntary, and only for grants on which they
have a (named) stipend line. The result is that after they leave me they
generally have much better success in getting grants than I do, and much
of the money in "my" lab is actually independent fellowships held by my
students. In the latter case, they write the first draft, I help, and MY
name stays off. So it's reciprocal, voluntary, and occasionally even
brings in money. 

Yours, -Dick[Oct15,95]

On 7 Oct 1995, Alexander Berezin wrote:

> In a private e-exchange on the research funding 
> theme a colleague has informed me of a practice 
> when (some) professors use their graduate students 
> in the capacity of grant proposals writers for 
> themselves (the professors).
> Specifically, example was given when a student was
> requested to write grant proposal for the "boss"
> as a part of his/her PhD comprehensive examinations.  
> "Write a proposal in the style of NIH grant".
> In another case student "would hardly finish one of 
> the boss' grants and the boss give him/er another".  
> My correspodent concludes: 
> "It's generally accepted by most grad students that 
> I've talked to that this is abuse, but I really don't 
> know what it thought by the tenure professors".
> As I (A.Berezin) am presently working with another
> colleague on a paper/letter about PhD (over)production 
> and grantsmanship, I will appreciate comments on the 
> above issue form profsessors AND graduate students
> (and, of course, all other who may have info).
> Any ideas on how widespread this practice is ? 
> What are the moral/ethical "justifiers" behind it, if 
> any ?  [ Yes, one can say that "we have to train 
> students how to write grants" ], etc.
> Do you personally consider it as abuse or "okay" ?
> Comments can be either posted of e-mailed to me
> privatly - in the latter case, the confindentiallity
> of respodees will be, of course, respected.
> **********************************
> Alexander A. Berezin, PhD
> Department of Engineering Physics
> McMaster University, Hamilton,
> Ontario, Canada, L8S 4L7
> tel. (905) 525-9140 ext. 24546
> **********************************

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