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How NIH Funding Effects Science As a Career

This letter appeared last September on The Scientist. 

The fact that becoming an independent researcher takes upwards of 15years is just too long for me. Furthermore, being in research for almost a decade (undergrad, graduate, 1 yr postdoc), I have noticed that funding favors medical researchers. I’m not talking about PhDs who study medicine, rather, MDs who apply for grants. They seem to get a more favorable score/review simply bccause they are clinicians or are related to the medical field, regardless of the importance of the work. What about basic science? Basic science is the foundation of scientific research today! It also seems that researchers these days don’t care about science, but as another commenter said, use it to further their careers.

We don’t train that many Phds; it’s a misconception. We are allowing too many POORLY trained FOREIGN Phds to compete for research positions (just bc they can be hired on the cheap). What this does is reduce the amount of spots for citizens, lowers wages, stifles interaction/discussion in the lab and department, and create an atmosphere of ‘Us’ versus ‘Them.’

I did undergrad research at a great institution, grad program at a top notch university, but I am appalled and disgusted at what I’m seeing as a postdoc.

I am leaving science after this year, and will discourage undergraduates and family from entering graduate school or scientific research. The system is broken, no one seems to care, and it isn’t going to change any time soon.


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