Academic Challenges: Funding

Posted on November 18, 2017 by Tadween Editors | 0 comments

From the student level to tenured faculty, academia poses a vast set of challenges. Every two weeks, Al-Diwan brings you a collection of articles and perspectives that touch upon one problem within academia. This week's focus is funding.

Exactly Why I Don’t Like Dependence on Grant Funding
Aaron Barlow (Academe Blog)

According to Aaron Barlow, grant structures have unfortunately hindered the progress of research. Preferring to fund “safe” research projects, grant-giving organizations have sent a subtle – and sometimes not so subtle – message to researchers: taking risks may negatively impact future funding opportunities.

Funding Down, Tuition Up
By Michael Mitchell, Michael Leachman, and Kathleen Masterson (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities) 

As states cut funding to higher education institutions during the recession, universities and colleges often increased tuition rates to compensate, limiting access to higher education. Tuition hikes were supplemented by faculty lay-offs and cutting course offerings, further hurting educational opportunities for students and faculty.

When Government is Not Enough for Research Funding
By Brian Herman and Claudia Neuhauser (Social Science Space)

America’s position as a leader of innovation is currently in flux since federal support for higher education and research has declined over the years. Brian Herman and Claudia Neuhauser comment that in facing diminished federal support, universities have shifted to relying on their own funds to support research; the two believe this is an unsustainable practice.

Securing money for research is hard for everyone – but then there’s the sexism
By Anonymous (The Guardian) 

In academia, everything impacts everything else. Receiving grants plays a role in getting published, which influences promotions. This nature of academia means set backs early in one’s career can have long-lasting effects. The author of this piece looks at this issue, starting from addressing the role of sexism in the peer review process.

Another set of ideas for fixing the funding crisis for young researchers
By Shalini Saxena (Ars Technica)

Why is it that grants are more and more often going to older and more seasoned researchers rather than younger ones? Shalini Saxena recounts Ronald Daniels’ perspective on this question as it relates to the biomedical sciences. According to Daniels, the answer rests in a combination of nepotism, longer training periods, and disillusionment with career prospects in academia.

How the GOP Tax Plan Could Hurt Graduate Students – and American Research
By Eric Kelderman (The Chronicle of Higher Education)

The House of Representatives put forth a 400-page tax bill that has made many graduate students wary. Much of the fear centers on a provision that would shift tuition wavers granted to graduate research and teaching assistants from being non-taxable to taxable income.

Magic Money and the Partially Funded Sabbatical
By Dame B. Biolock (Tenure, She Wrote)

Working at an institution that has faculty serve as administrators in addition to their roles as researchers and teaching professors, Dame B. Biolock was excited at the prospect of having a year-long pre-tenure sabbatical. However, the reality of this opportunity was not nearly as wonderful as initially thought. To survive and have enough money to live during this sabbatical would require a significant amount of extra work.

Academic Research is not for the Faint of Heart
By Marion Leary (Huffington Post)

Entering academia and research with one’s eyes to innovation will probably leave one incredibly disheartened once they enter the “rat race of publishing, lecturing, grant-writing, [and] teaching.” To get the materials needed to move research forward, there are a variety of hurdles, pushing the end goal of innovation farther and farther away for researchers.

How Scarce Funding Shapes Young Scientists
By Steven Eastlack (PLOS)

“The ebb and flow of funding dollars is currently inclined towards its ebb,” forcing researchers to reevaluate their funding search strategies. No longer can researchers consistently look towards government-funded programs to sustain their work; rather, they must be more imaginative to maintain the flow of ideas and innovation.

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