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

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  •  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

      [ Parent ]

      •  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

        [ Parent ]

      •  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

        [ Parent ]

      •  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.

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