Research Grants: We Need Yet More PhD’s
Recently-minted PhD Thoreau discusses the difference between research grants offered by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and those backed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) thusly:
NSF wants to see more Americans in grad school, because they believe that the only way to maintain America’s competitive edge is to continue to over-produce Ph.D.’s. If I do a research project with a student who develops skills and goes into industry to do something useful and earn more money than me without spending 11 years in school, as far as NSF is concerned that’s a failure to retain talent. […] The only difference between NSF and NIH is that NSF might be appeased if the student becomes a high school teacher or works in a science museum or does something else related to education and outreach.
Thoreau considers this “insane” but he ignores the obvious cause. Hint: Both begin with N.