Crusades for saving Grant Money?

taguebw at wfu.edu taguebw at wfu.edu
Tue Jun 17 16:28:42 EST 1997


In article <33A6E4BA.41C6 at jhuvms.hcf.jhu.edu>, pjschlax at JHUVMS.HCF.JHU.EDU
("Dr. Paula J. Schlax") wrote:

> Well, I saw another essential lab product today. (Please hear the
> sarcasm!) Little plastic containers of 50 ml 1% agarose in TAE- just
> heat and pour.\
> 
> Why why why do we keep making markets for these products!!!!!! Is it so
> hard to weigh out half a gram of agarose?
>

Reminds me of the following: In graduate school, I did my required lab
rotations in a a few different labs. One was very high powered, lots of
grant money, hugh post-doc factory. In that lab they used sterile 50 ml
orange capped corning tubes as disposable graduated cylinders, even when
the real cylinders were near by. Use them once and toss.

The next lab I went to was always underfunded. They *only* used sterile
tubes when sterility was necessary and then *washed* the disposable tubes
and used them over and over until they were too warped to get the cap on. 

I don't think the quality of the work was different between the two labs
but I'll bet the second one got more bang for the buck.

I got my degree in the second lab. Makes me happy now 'cause now I've got
to make my money go as far as I can.

But it always made me think that the economy of scale doesn't work in
laboratory science. Every well- (overly?-) funded lab I'm familiar with
*wasted* enough money to run the good underfunded labs I know.

Now if we could only get the federal granting agencies to skim 10% of the
grant money off the top 10% of the labs. Then the remaining 90% of the
labs in the country would probably have enough money to do some good
science.

My 2 electrons....

Brian... who finished his DOE grant today and has been thinking about such
issues way too much of late....



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