NIL awards: Coming soon !

Alexander Berezin berezin at MCMAIL.CIS.MCMASTER.CA
Wed Mar 12 12:33:59 EST 1997


In the anticipation of NSERC's funding annuncements 
(I am not sure when MRC's decisions are coming) for 
the next year and undoubtedly a new good harvest of 
fresh "NIL Awards" it is interesting to look at the 
logic used by those who continue to justify the 
"selectivity" policies ("take from them and give to 
us", or "Matthew principle" logic or rich get richer).

The following comment came in (unposted) mailing to 
me by a member of NSERC Grant Selection Committee 
(GSC), who tried to convince me that they do it all 
right, and "for common good" (whose ?) we should 
stop criticising. Because it is a private reply to 
my posting, I can't repost the whole thing, but want 
to comment on just one point which was made. The
readers can judge for themselves. 

(BEREZIN: from earlier posting):

>To presume that ONE THIRD of all Canadian professors
>(present NIL-rate) satisfy the above NIL-eligibility
>(incimpetent, useless, unproductive, etc) is a sheer
>nonsense and a gross insult to our universities.

GSC Member replied to this passage:

(quote unedited)
You have a hang-up about this NIL thing.  The bottom line 
is that there simply isn't enough money to go around.  
To use an analogy, it takes a certain amount of food to 
maintain a human body.  You can't improve your family by 
having more kids with the same amount of food.  You
need more food if all those who merit dinner are to get 
enough to eat.

BEREZIN (new comment):

In short, the logic here is that if you have several kids
and short on food, starve half (or 1/3, as NSERC prefers). 
This will certainly help the rest to grow - physically,
intellectually and moraly healthy. And of course, this 
tiny minority of troublemakers (1/3 of all Canadian 
professors) of NIL "grantees" have their paranoic 
hang ups. Arn't they see that the MAJORITY (2/3) is 
funded and doing the MOST EXCELLENT work ? (by postdocs' 
hands for the most part, but that's not a good subject 
to be talked about too loudly).

And yet this dead wood minority still dares to scream. 
Like all those Jews still screaming of the Holocaust. 
THEIR Holocaust, mind you, not ours.  Gime a break. 
This was only 10 % of the total population. Not a big 
deal, after all. Especially when the rest 90 % have 
had it all right (even excellent), with the plenty of 
sausage and beer to go around. Salute (heil) to the 
funding selectivity policy ! True path to the sunny 
summitts of EXCELLENCE.   


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