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View Diary: Sequester on the Poor Grad Student (15 comments)

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  •  Good diary! (2+ / 0-)
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    mathGuyNTulsa, Future Gazer

    but you might want to tidy up this part a bit:

    Bonus information: universities take a cut out of whatever funding you apply for unless there are contingencies against it (ACS PRF is like that but the amount is puny compared to the larger grants). In my university, it is 55%. They tell us that the money goes to paying for the administrative staff, building services, lighting, gas, water etc. So when you apply for money, you need to also consider how much the university will take. For example, you want to pay a graduate student for 2 years this is about 100k, maybe some equipment is 30k, supplies 5k.... and then you double that amount.
    No, you'd need an overhead of 100% to double the amount . .. .   maybe that's a nitpick, but I suspect that for somebody like you with an science/engineering background, being 45% off maybe just maybe might be an unacceptably large fudge factor.
    •  Thanks (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elfling

      I will edit after putting something on the x-ray machine.

      Why hello there reality, how are you doing?

      by Future Gazer on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 06:36:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Hopefully that looks better (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Roadbed Guy

      perhaps I should write it this way

      The amount you should write the proposal for = (the amount of money needed)/0.45

      Why hello there reality, how are you doing?

      by Future Gazer on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 07:37:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  My suggestion would be to just give some (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mathGuyNTulsa, Future Gazer

        numbers like

        A typical "workhorse" R01 grant for the NIH provides $1 million for research - but in addition to that, an additional $550,000 is tacked on for university overhead (in the process, depleting NIH funds for other grants, of course!).

        Also, methinks you need a slightly more alarmist title for this diary to garner some attention . . .

        •  Indirect costs (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elfling, Future Gazer, Roadbed Guy

          I have to weigh in here.

          The "55%" the university "tacks on" represent real costs.  Someone must pay for the utilities, the network, the library, the buildings, payroll and personnel staff who actually process the paper that gets you paid, and the compliance infrastructure required by state and federal regulation.  These are real costs, and you can't just off-load them to undergraduates.  Research on grants and contracts USES all of these systems and people.  

          The "cost" of the research consists of the DIRECT costs of equipment and research staff AND the INDIRECT costs of all the other related things that are necessary to actually do that research and get paid.  These "related things" are invisible until you don't have them--how would you like to be not paid because no one processed the payroll this month?  Or not have a library or a computer network? Or have no heat or water in your lab?

          The alternative to "indirect costs" is for everyone to keep timesheets and allocate effort to individual projects, to have each lab pay for utilities and pay rent on research space.  That would simply ADD needless expense and nuisance, so instead we use an indirect accounting mechanism to recover these costs.  In point of fact, this indirect mechanism probably understates the actual costs of doing business, so universities wind up subsidizing grants and contracts from other sources of revenue.

          It's just wrong to characterize indirect costs as something the university "adds on."  

          Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. -- Arthur C. Clarke

          by mathGuyNTulsa on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 08:22:43 AM PST

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          •  That depends. There's also a fair amount of bloat (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Future Gazer

            at a major R1 in terms of both staff and maintenance, and relatively little oversight or accountability that such funds are needed or disbursed prudently.

            Some DKos series & groups worth your while: Black Kos, Native American Netroots, KosAbility, Monday Night Cancer Club. If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

            by peregrine kate on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 08:50:15 AM PST

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          •  Probably doesn't help that I said (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            elfling

            "They tell us..." as if I don't believe what I'm told.

            More like, I couldn't verify it for you. There are other things that the cut may end up going to such as fellowship for underrepresented minorities or propping up the folks over in social sciences.

            Just the building I work in...
            The building I work in costs about $150k in utilities to run not sure on timeframe per month or per year something like that.
            The staff engineering salaries range from 70-90k - we have 5 of them. They keep the undergrad lab running, teach some of the lab courses. It is a really nice undergraduate lab - I wish I had something like that at UCLA.
            The support staff somewhere around 40-70k salaries and we have quite a few of them: secretary (shared jointly w/ chemical engineering), procurement, 2 admin assistants, grad student affairs

            Grants don't come in all the time so hence why such a large percentage. I'm fine with it as long as it's not the chancellor or whatever pocketing it, subsequently cutting the quality of education and making other people's work here more difficult.

            Why hello there reality, how are you doing?

            by Future Gazer on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 08:56:17 AM PST

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          •  Sure, they're "real" costs (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Future Gazer, mathGuyNTulsa

            but not (usually) all that directly linked to research in large part.

            That's probably not (necessarily) a bad thing - it keeps the universities running.

            But somehow a better funding mechanism than the very scarce NIH research $$s seems apropos.

      •  Good job with the new title, btw! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Future Gazer

        now if only anyone out there here at DailyKos actually cared about scientists, you know, the way they do about political activists or those like The Nephew (may God rest his soul) with a compelling personal story to tell . ..

        •  lol (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          peregrine kate, Roadbed Guy

          It feels like woe is me or something. Me personally, NOT REALLY. Other grad students? O hell ya. Especially if they go to the engineering/science schools with way less safety nets in place... or they do have safety nets just with really big gaping holes in the nets. :|

          The stuff I wrote I feel like is removed from everyday life. It's pretty dry! Hard to make it sound exciting apart from my screams of "[expletive] YES. IT WORKS. WOOOHOO." I mean I am as dorky as they come. But behind that joyful cheer is a lot of "god damnit wtf is wrong with this? grumble grumble"

          Well, doing research is everyday life for me. I do have a profit motive: feed myself, save up for house, etc. I also feel this is my contribution to society: make better battery materials. All taxpayers, donors and representatives with a brain make that possible for me.

          And it must be said that it is made possible for foreign students as well... but this is another complicated situation which requires careful explanation and proofs as to how we got to it... starting with our culture when it comes to prioritizing public education. Maybe the fact there are so many foreign students is why we don't mind axing the investments made toward science? Perhaps another day, another diary.

          Why hello there reality, how are you doing?

          by Future Gazer on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 01:37:11 PM PST

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