Some Input for NIH

Feb 09 2015 Published by under Uncategorized

The current wave on the science-Internets is all about a not-a-proposal-yet from NIH for what is current being called an Emeritus Award. I confess I don't entirely understand the logic but this would be funding for senior researchers on their way to closing up shop and passing the proverbial torch (I had no idea that was a costly proposition). In theory this mechanism taking researchers out of the active pool, though that is already happening all over with paylines they way they are.

Well, everyone hates it! Perhaps just in the way that everyone hates any potential new NIH move. What will this do for me? I am no different. Here is how I'd frame this potential move (yes I am going to submit a comment).

NIH's money is finite. Create a new mechanism the money has to come from some place. What they are not-proposing here is to create a mechanism aimed at the most demographically homogenous group of researchers. Take a look at the data for your field, your university or your department. I can almost guarantee you that the least diverse set of people are the most senior ones. When promotions through the ranks happen racial and gender diversity goes further out the door. This is not necessarily NIH's fault though it is certainly something NIH has to deal with.

After all that determination to do something after Ginther Report, with mentoring groups and other round-a-bout approaches aimed at eventually addressing racial disparities in grant awards, suddenly we may have a very direct new mechanism that, regardless of the underlying logic, is essentially un-diversity.

One response so far

  • drugmonkey says:

    The component of this where the aging PI is supposed to select an heir apparent is likewise a risk for perpetuating the self same lack of diversity that is expressed in the post-retirement-age generation.

Leave a Reply