Friday, May 19, 2006

i think i'm right

This was in the Ariozona Republic on April 8th, and it makes me mad:

Biodesign chief sets challenges

As a drug-company executive for 17 years, George Poste knew the perils of slumping sales: less money for research, slower growth and possible layoffs. Now, as head of the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, Poste wants his staff to face the same consequences. Under him, each researcher must generate $225 in federal or private grants for each square foot of space he or she occupies or lose lab space and maybe points in a performance review. It's not the typical accountability measure in academe, but Poste makes no apologies.

"That is tragically the Darwinian model," Poste said. Those who can't compete shouldn't be carried by other researchers or the university, he said. "(Otherwise) it's a form of academic welfare. Dispense with it."

So basically, if your research makes lots of money, you’re good, but if it doesn’t, you’re gone. This is exactly the type of corporate crap that I think will be the downfall of universities. Researching everything (even the non-money makers) is important, but I think it’s even more important in the medical field.

What this means is that potentially important medical discoveries may never be made because they aren’t going to make millions of dollars for the university.

This is good for ASU’s budget. Not so very good for humanity.

5 comments:

jay said...

this is really tragic in most fields but like you said i think it's most evident in medical research.

for example: diabetes. there was a lot of research done for a while in the early 20th C but then they figured out how to effectively control the disease with insulin and now, not much research. but lots of income from insulin, because lots of people are diabetic. more and more w/ onset diabetes, etc. as we eat more junk food and live longer and longer.

skibigsky said...

The sad reality is that you need institution support to get grant funding; if you are 100% grant funded, you technically don't have the time to write new grants (as funding agencies won't specifically pay you to write more grants). By demanding that people pay for themselves 100% of the time will ensure a research population that dies out. Or goes to other universities, where there is a little better understanding of research dollars. It's sad to see it, but I hope other universities take it as a sign of what NOT to do.

s'mee said...

This is amazing. Money rules everything. Pretty soon I am sure they will put a dollar amount on absolutely each particle in our world, and eventually the free and beautiful things will disappear.

No money in saving a human life at a certain age, or because it is a nonprofit disease? Oh well.

One is left wondering what kind of kharma Mr. Poste is wreaking upon himself. Call it kharma, bread on the water, what goes around comes around, doing unto others as you would have them do to you... anyway you look at it Mr.Poste is stacking it pretty high.

penguinconqueso said...

Gah. Mental illness makes more money untreated than treated. I'm twitching as we speak.

BTW, I started up a SparkPeople thingie. I'm gooldenpenguin, no surprise on the name. :) What's your screenname?

holli jo said...

Jay--diabetes is a perfect example.

Ski--good point about the grants!

s'mee -- I agree. It's sad.

penguin -- yay! SP is the best. My screen name is hollijo, and you can find me by searching for my Spark Page. Maybe we should start a friends group. I already started one for my family, but not many of them participate.