Fixing NIH funding

Pamela Norton pnorton at
Tue Aug 27 18:06:43 EST 1996

In article <322062DE.6ED7 at>, mgruidl at COM1.MED.USF.EDU
(Mike Gruidl) wrote:

some stuff cut
> Therefore, I am proposing a simple idea which will difficult to
implement.  Remove the 
> money for student stipends and for post-doc salaries from investigator
initiated >grants.  Transfer those funds to block grants or to training
grants which would be >awarded directly to departments or to colleges. 
The departments or college (as in a >division within a larger university)
would directly compete at the federal level for >these funds. 

   There already are many training grants out there. Also, many students
are supported by teaching assistships, and there are grants to individuals
available, especially at the postdoctoral level. You aren't proposing to
do away with these mechanisms, are you?

>  I am also proposing two levels for which funding for the funding of
students and 
> post-docs.  One level would be an automatic level of funding of stipends
and salaries 
> based on the total level of funding for research and the number of peer
> publications produced by the requesting organization.  Some formula can
be worked out 
> where for every $200,000 of grant funds and 2 peer reviewed publications
equals 1 
> graduate student stipend. ....

    I'm not sure I understand this.

> Individual investigator initiated grants would still allow funding
salaries for 
> technicians and for funding salaries for non-tenure track research
assistant professor 
> positions.  Clearly, a research assistant professor is an advanced post-doc.  
   AHEM. As a Research Assistant Professor of Medicine, I can assure you
that I am _not_ an advanced postdoc, having had independent NIH funding
(R29 and R01) for 6 years. I am non-tenure track, but so are most of the
junior faculty at this institution, as tenure essentially has been
abolished. However, I am still eligible for promotion (pending); it is
separate from tenure. I am based in a clinical department; faculty are
divided into Clin. Asst. Prof. (no research expected), Res. Asst. Prof.
(no clincal expected) and unprefixed Asst. Prof. (both expected). This
appointment system is very similar to the one at my previous institution,
also a medical school, and I have no reason to think that it is all that
unusual. However, it is probably not correct to assume that
Research-prefixed faculty in a basic science department are not
independent, but you can probably assume that they are not tenure track.
An appointment at the level of Instructor might be the type of position
you are referring to. I can't comment on what the Research prefix might
mean at a non-medical school, perhaps others can.
> This proposal would place the power to award student stipends and
post-doc salaries to 
> the chair and deans of their respective departments and colleges. 

   I don't like the sound of this.

   My opinions only.

      Pam Norton

Pamela A. Norton, Ph.D.          Assistant Professor of Medicine
Thomas Jefferson University
Philadelphia, PA 19107           p_norton at

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