I’ll finish a “real” post soon: Part 2 of my recap of a freshman seminar course on models. (I made the painting for it already!) But, since I’ve written about funding issues in science before (e.g. here), I can’t resist a small post on a proposed new NIH funding program.
There is, of course, a lot of concern about low levels of grant funding, overpopulation of scientists, etc. The last thing one would expect to read is a serious proposal, by the NIH, that it should fund more “emeritus” investigators (i.e. very senior people). But, here it is. The idea is that the program would help these researchers “transition out of a position that relies on funding from NIH research grants” and “facilitate the transfer of their work, knowledge and resources to junior colleagues.” I had to check my calendar to see if April 1 had come up without my noticing. I could point out that “transitioning” is easy to accomplish by not applying for grants, or by collaborating with other researchers. I could also point out that transferring knowledge is what one should be doing already, as a part of a university. But all these points and more are well made in scores of scathing comments at the NIH site. Even better is a brilliant takedown at the “Complex Roots” blog — I highly recommend it.