The Fleecing of America by Biomedical Research Administration

Michael S. Straka mike.straka at
Mon Mar 25 21:04:37 EST 1996

On 22 Mar, "Leonard P. Paplauskas" <paplauskas at> wrote:

>Marc Andelman <drgonfly at> wrote:
>>One only has to look at the overhead costs, which often well exceeds fifty percent.
>Keep in mind that an IDC "rate" of 50% (of Total Direct Costs), 
>calculates to 33% of Total Costs.
>Leonard P. Paplauskas
>Assistant Vice President for Research 
>University of Connecticut Health Center 
>Farmington, CT   06030-5355 
>FAX 679-2670                                            
>paplauskas at

We are all WELL aware that an IDC rate of 50% means that the funding 
agency will have to shell out for administrative costs 50% ABOVE AND
BEYOND what the actual costs of the research require!  Couching it in
terms of total costs is an administrative ploy intended to justify the
existence of a layer of beaurocracy which not only stifles individual
investigators, but also holds back the entire research enterprise.  I 
agree that institutions should try to recoup some of the costs incurred
for the conduct of research on their premises; however, it seems to me
that it has reached the level of obscene greed.  How can institutions 
justify the fact that those who BRING IN most of the research dollars 
(PhD researchers) have LESS SECURE positions of employment than those 
who tell us how to fill out forms, where to dump the trash, cook the 
food, indeed, those who TAKE OUT the trash!  It is simply beyond 
comprehension to anyone with a brain, why scientists do what we do, 
and for as little as we get.

Someone else mentioned in this thread that we don't realize just what
exactly it is that adminstrators do for us.  They would, for example,
point out that I missed an i in the word "administrators" in the 
previous sentence.  Thank you very much.  How do we fill out this form?
What are the regs we have to comply with?  What's the deadline for this
or that grant?  OK - some people are required to keep things in order, 
from an organizational point of view.  No problem.  What I want to know
is, why are scientists looked upon as the scum that administrators have
to deal with?  What's wrong with this picture?  How can it be that we
went through grad sch, went through the PhD process, etc etc, and STILL
have to struggle with making a living working 50-70 hrs/wk, barely
making it financially, submitting grant after grant with our very 
survival determined by persons unknown, and have to deal with robotic 
beaurocrats who make more money than us, and cannot be fired, 
practically no matter WHAT they do??  

I suggest, LPP, that you give thought to those whose money you oversee.  
THEY are the ones who know science.  THEY are the ones who most likely 
solicited the dollars which pay your salary.  If not for the existence
of scientific research, you would not have your job.

-Mike Straka, PhD
Instructor, Dept Pediatrics
UCHSC, Denver

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