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Post Archive
2017 (0)2010 (241)
December (20)

Have a little personality on Friday...
Friday, December 10, 2010

Thursday is going to be epic...
Thursday, December 9, 2010

Good Night, and Good Luck
Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Ask Genomic RepairMom...Child Birth
Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wednesday is definitely a rollercoaster
Wednesday, December 8, 2010

12 Months of Blogging Meme
Tuesday, December 7, 2010

LabSpaces Fantasy Football Challenge: Week 13
Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Don't Run Around On A Tuesday
Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A rhetorical question and science fail...
Monday, December 6, 2010

Sue
Monday, December 6, 2010

It definitely doesn't feel like summer...
Monday, December 6, 2010

A Friday Recipe... Stuffed Jalapenos
Friday, December 3, 2010

A Friday morning haiku for you...
Friday, December 3, 2010

Friday better not be your time of dying...
Friday, December 3, 2010

Music Warz--Fuck all you emos--Punk is where its at...
Thursday, December 2, 2010

Is this a sign of things to come...
Thursday, December 2, 2010

Speaking to the next generation...
Thursday, December 2, 2010

Apparently we must have used hypocritical evangelical coders...
Thursday, December 2, 2010

Have an Unbelievable Thursday
Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Don't ge a Gigolo on Wednesday, its just not right.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
November (44)

LabSpaces Fantasy Football Challenge: Week 12
Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It Might Get Loud On Tuesday
Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Do you know what the Spellcheck button is?
Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Update: I think I'm dying...Science in Motion...
Monday, November 29, 2010

Feel The Noise On a Monday
Monday, November 29, 2010

The jail story...
Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Don't be talking that shit on a Wednesday..
Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The dark danger and human cost of drug development
Tuesday, November 23, 2010

LabSpaces Fantasy Football Challenge: Week 11
Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thrift Store T Shirt Tuesday
Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Request for Reprint...Should I put on my throwback jersey too?
Monday, November 22, 2010

Moving Boxes, we aren't going a damn place...
Monday, November 22, 2010

Does your brain feel like its going to Pop on a Monday?
Monday, November 22, 2010

Friday Wrap-Up and Links
Friday, November 19, 2010

Believe Me, Its Friday
Friday, November 19, 2010

An Open Letter To The Guy Who Tried To Mug Me...
Thursday, November 18, 2010

Who the hell said it was Thursday?
Thursday, November 18, 2010

Ask Genomic RepairMom...Retractions.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Are you in the house?
Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pay me fuckers
Tuesday, November 16, 2010

LabSpaces Fantasy Football Challenge: Week 10
Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Don't Feed the Animals
Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Tuesday Morning Book Review...
Tuesday, November 16, 2010

On which I make my return
Monday, November 15, 2010

One of the best discussions on Climate Change...Ever.
Monday, November 15, 2010

Guess who's back?
Monday, November 15, 2010

Lets keep on Rocking on a Friday...
Friday, November 12, 2010

Don't Rock the Boat on a Thursday
Thursday, November 11, 2010

Don't get too Hooked on Wednesday
Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Don't Wine on a Tuesday
Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Caribbean Monday
Monday, November 8, 2010

I'm out...
Monday, November 8, 2010

We call this a teachable moment...
Friday, November 5, 2010

Can't help that its Friday
Friday, November 5, 2010

A comparative study on pain medication reactions (n=2)
Thursday, November 4, 2010

Dear students applying for fellowships...
Thursday, November 4, 2010

Don't be Tempted on a Thursday...
Thursday, November 4, 2010

Ask Genomic RepairMom...Elections
Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Working it out from home on Wednesday...
Wednesday, November 3, 2010

LabSpaces Fantasy Football: Week 8
Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Hope you find Satisfaction on a Tuesday...
Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tales of the Genomic Repairman: DNS
Monday, November 1, 2010

The fall of Agamemnon and the rise of Ajax: Is the PI being cheap?
Monday, November 1, 2010

Don't be Trippin on a Monday...unless you want to.
Monday, November 1, 2010
October (47)

Is the PI being cheap?
Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday Save
Friday, October 29, 2010

Nobel Prize Blunder...
Thursday, October 28, 2010

Don't be gray on a Thursday...
Thursday, October 28, 2010

Be a Wiz on a Wednesday
Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ask Genomic RepairMom.... Vaccines
Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Things learned from my Society meeting...
Tuesday, October 26, 2010

LabSpaces Fantasy Football: Week 7
Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Attack my Site...I'm Gonna Knock You Out...
Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Write, write, write...
Monday, October 25, 2010

Hold on I'm Coming to play you some music on a Monday...
Monday, October 25, 2010

Get off this Friday...
Friday, October 22, 2010

Dear Graduate Student, let me list the reasons why I shall beat you with a stick...
Thursday, October 21, 2010

Slow down, you don't have to Run on a Thursday...
Thursday, October 21, 2010

Could you be loved on a Wednesday...
Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Ask Genomic RepairMom...Big Bang Theory...
Wednesday, October 20, 2010

It was only a matter of time before I got off my ass...
Tuesday, October 19, 2010

LabSpaces Fantasy Football: Week 6
Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Is Everything Zen on a Tuesday?
Tuesday, October 19, 2010

10 Commandments of Poster Presentations...
Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Shout it out on Monday
Monday, October 18, 2010

Pinch me its Friday...
Friday, October 15, 2010

Donor's Choose: Give me your lunchmoney!
Thursday, October 14, 2010

So I know I slagged off on a vendor but now its time to give one props...
Thursday, October 14, 2010

Did you see Fireflies on a Thursday?
Thursday, October 14, 2010

New Series: Ask Genomic RepairMom...Stem Cells
Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Make Wednesday A Magic Moment...
Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Tribe of Science loses a Warrior
Tuesday, October 12, 2010

LabSpaces Fantasy Football: Week 5
Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hey Man, quit Ramblin on a Tuesday
Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Cocaine is not a good way to start the week off...
Monday, October 11, 2010

Candidacy Exam: Last one out gets the lights...
Monday, October 11, 2010

Who would have ever thought that Gatorade was pro-evolution...
Sunday, October 10, 2010

Candidacy Exam: I think I'm qualified.
Friday, October 8, 2010

Giving you guys some culture...One Semester of Spanish, Spanish Love Song
Friday, October 8, 2010

I'm sorta Research Blogging...Insight into the function of PALB2
Thursday, October 7, 2010

Chances Are I'm bringing you old guy radio today
Thursday, October 7, 2010

You only knew it was a matter of time before I went off again...
Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Welcome to Wednesday
Wednesday, October 6, 2010

LabSpaces Fantasy Football: Week 4
Tuesday, October 5, 2010

What I'd be doing, if I wasn't doing this: A fishing story!
Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Keep Moving on Tuesday
Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A little Dave Holland recommendation for Tideliar
Monday, October 4, 2010

My mom reads my blog, Happy Birthday Genomic RepairMom
Monday, October 4, 2010

More than a feeling on Monday Morning: I rocked this song in Rock Band
Monday, October 4, 2010

Candidacy Exam: Fourth and inches...
Sunday, October 3, 2010

I'm running late because I got caught on the Radar Gun
Friday, October 1, 2010
September (45)

A man can only take so much bluegrass, time to rock!
Thursday, September 30, 2010

Don't be running down the street hungry as a hound on Wednesday...
Wednesday, September 29, 2010

How not to foster a scientific collaboration...
Tuesday, September 28, 2010

LabSpaces Fantasy Football: Week 3
Tuesday, September 28, 2010

In Spite of Tuesday
Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Candidacy Exam: Someone check his pulse
Monday, September 27, 2010

Stomp it out on a Monday
Monday, September 27, 2010

Update: To the coworker who saw me lose my shit tonight...
Friday, September 24, 2010

Hoping for No Rain on a Friday
Friday, September 24, 2010

Don't have a bad Thursday
Thursday, September 23, 2010

Don't be Greedy, enjoy your Wednesday
Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What is your opinion on reuse of a figure in a journal? Misconduct?
Tuesday, September 21, 2010

LabSpaces Fantasy Football Challenge: Week 2
Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Taking it back old school with The Tokens on a Tuesday
Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I've got a case of the Mondays...
Monday, September 20, 2010

A little Rebel Yell on Monday
Monday, September 20, 2010

An Open Letter to Bio-Rad...This is going to fuck up any chance of a sponsorship...
Sunday, September 19, 2010

A lawyer is calling stem cells outmoded?
Thursday, September 16, 2010

Happy Mexican Independence Day & Potential Darwin Award
Thursday, September 16, 2010

Is Science the Love of Your Life?
Thursday, September 16, 2010

Got it made in the shade on Wednesday?
Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Can you go the distance on Tuesday?
Tuesday, September 14, 2010

LabSpaces Fantasy Football Challenge: Week 1
Monday, September 13, 2010

Candidacy Exam: Damnit go away!
Monday, September 13, 2010

Don't break down on a Monday.
Monday, September 13, 2010

Good grief, its Friday!
Friday, September 10, 2010

Guest Post: The Easy Pub
Thursday, September 9, 2010

You don't know how it feels on a Thursday
Thursday, September 9, 2010

Funniest Comment Contest Part 2
Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Stay with me on a Wednesday
Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I wish I knew: A Tale of 2.5 stories...
Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Lets just be friends on a Tuesday...
Tuesday, September 7, 2010

In case you weren't signed up...
Monday, September 6, 2010

Come on ride that train on a Monday...
Monday, September 6, 2010

Candidacy Exam: Clocks ticking yo!
Monday, September 6, 2010

You want to guest post on LabSpaces?
Friday, September 3, 2010

Watch out for the small print on a Friday
Friday, September 3, 2010

Are you actually working with a neuronal line?
Friday, September 3, 2010

Groups
Thursday, September 2, 2010

Whats that smell and how should I mentor it?
Thursday, September 2, 2010

Travelling Riverside on a Thursday
Thursday, September 2, 2010

LFG...
Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Contest Winners!!!
Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Go Your Separate Ways on a Wednesday
Wednesday, September 1, 2010

My first (and best ever) conference...
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
August (75)

Mentoring a mentor?: Get it in writing.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Warning: Its Tuesday
Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I've survived a month of blogging.
Monday, August 30, 2010

New Yorker Article on Francis Collins and the Stem Cell Ruling
Monday, August 30, 2010

Crunch!
Monday, August 30, 2010

Can't Relate to a Monday
Monday, August 30, 2010

Female Science Bloggers...
Monday, August 30, 2010

Potential blogger drink err meet up?
Friday, August 27, 2010

Candidacy Exam: Scheduling, scheduling, scheduling
Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday morning special...
Friday, August 27, 2010

Dear IACUC inspector...
Thursday, August 26, 2010

The State of My Blog
Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Genomic Repairman's Book Club
Thursday, August 26, 2010

Wishing you were home on a Thursday
Thursday, August 26, 2010

Here is where you get to win the liquor
Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Epic Fail on a macroscale level.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Some recent big news in the DNA Repair field
Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Don't get caught asleep at the wheel on a Wednesday morning
Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Funniest comment, formerly most obnoxious contest...
Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dear Trainee, the clock is ticking...
Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Cleanliness is next to...
Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tuesday morning got you feeling numb
Tuesday, August 24, 2010

An Open Letter to Core Director
Monday, August 23, 2010

Conference Calls
Monday, August 23, 2010

Don't be blue on a Monday!
Monday, August 23, 2010

LabSpaces NFL Pick 'Em Challenge
Friday, August 20, 2010

Its Friday In Spite of Ourselves
Friday, August 20, 2010

The Genomic Repairman gets a pat on the back from the boss and a boot in the ass
Friday, August 20, 2010

Legit Science Question Here Folks
Thursday, August 19, 2010

Rise up on a Thursday Morning
Thursday, August 19, 2010

Dumping on technicians...
Thursday, August 19, 2010

Antibody Naming Contest Winners
Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Trying to find some music for tomorrow, like yesterday
Wednesday, August 18, 2010

ncRNA: Oh the splendor, oh the horror!
Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Still want in on Battle of the Science Blogs
Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Another twofer on a Tuesday morning.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Linked Out?
Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Data Embargos
Monday, August 16, 2010

I need a remedy for this sunburn
Monday, August 16, 2010

Cell culture question for the readers...
Monday, August 16, 2010

A letter to the other graduate student in my lab...
Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday morning groovin by the Fratellis
Friday, August 13, 2010

The Apprentice: The Finale!
Friday, August 13, 2010

Candidacy Exam: The Runaround
Thursday, August 12, 2010

Shake off them shoes if you got the Thursday morning blues...
Thursday, August 12, 2010

Update to the aged RO1
Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Candidacy Exam: The Series
Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Shameless product plug
Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Quality is when you...
Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Honestly I didn't think I'd make it to Wednesday
Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A LabSpaces Prayer
Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A two for Tuesday with the boys of Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven
Tuesday, August 10, 2010

You can hold an RO1 for 27 fucking years!
Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Name my antibody!
Monday, August 9, 2010

Antineoplastons? You gotta be kidding me!
Monday, August 9, 2010

Monday morning beats by Morcheeba
Monday, August 9, 2010

So I'm at work today so I figure I owe you a song...
Sunday, August 8, 2010

Well since I'm working on a Saturday
Saturday, August 7, 2010

So I got tagged in a damn meme
Friday, August 6, 2010

What are you doing to promote science to the public?
Friday, August 6, 2010

A chilled tune for Friday and an extra track
Friday, August 6, 2010

Say goodbye to film.
Friday, August 6, 2010

Long Lost Paper
Thursday, August 5, 2010

Feel alive with Live on a Thursday morning.
Thursday, August 5, 2010

A Forum For Discussion
Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Some Wonderful Music for a Wednesday Morning
Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Is this really elevating your science?
Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Helen Larson my ass!
Wednesday, August 4, 2010

2010 LabSpaces NFL Challenge & Banner Contest
Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Balance...You gotta be kidding me.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Feeling Stuck on a Tuesday?
Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Note On Peer Review
Monday, August 2, 2010

Monday Morning Soothing Tunes and Moving Music
Monday, August 2, 2010

Candidacy Exam Blues
Monday, August 2, 2010

How do you balance the job and life?
Monday, August 2, 2010
July (10)
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Blogger Profile

Genomic Repairman

The Genomic Repairman is currently a Ph.D. student who escaped from the deep south, and studies DNA damage and repair through biochemical and genetic approaches. He intends to use pine away about his scientific interests and rant about the things (and there are lots of them) that annoy him.

My posts are presented as opinion and commentary and do not represent the views of LabSpaces Productions, LLC, my employer, or my educational institution.

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Awesome Stuff
Friday, October 29, 2010

So yesterday Drugmonkey had a post up about F31 fellowships and it lead me to churn out this post on a situation a friend of mine is in.  A friend of mine who we'll call Ajax, because that is what I call him works in a lab of a PI with good funding.  Ajax was able to secure a fellowship to pay him for his last two years of grad school.  Now the fellowship and Ajax's institution allow his PI to supplement the fellowship stipend up to 120% of his institutional stipend.  So since Ajax figured he was covering the bulk majority of his stipend as well as a small budget for consumables and travel his PI would supplement his income since he is off the hook for the other 80% of Ajax's money.  Well think again poor Ajax, your PI isn't going to supplement you and his reasoning is, "well you survived making x amount stipend why should I give you anymore?"  So basically the last two years of Ajax's stipend is off the books for his PI and he won't even reward him with some supplementation of funds.  Is he being a cheap bastard or thrifty entrepreneur?  My vote is cheap bastard but lets discuss shall we.

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Brian Krueger, PhD
Columbia University Medical Center
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I was on a T32 for two years of my 4.5 year stay in my PI's lab but I never got a raise :P  That was the institutional policy for in house training grants though.  If you got an external training grant from American Heart or something they boosted your pay by $2K/y which seems a little more fair.  If the guy's boss has the ability to pay him more then of course I think he should because happy grad students make for good results.


Genomic Repairman
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Yay, its definitely extramural money and both the fellowship and the institution allows for it but boss says no.  I mean don't you want to reward folks for going out and securing funding for themselves.


Nikkilina
Washington University School of Medicine
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I think he's being cheap. I think that if the student took the initiative and earned himself a grant, he should be rewarded. Grad students with initiative get solid postdocs which, in turn, make their advisors look better. The PI should be thanking this guy.


Prof-like Substance
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I would say cheap as well... UNLESS, he is using the freed up money for a new student. If that money is in the salary category and there is not much additional money in that category, using 20% for your friend might mean that he can't bring in another student because he only would have 80% of a stipend. In this case, it works against the lab to reward the student who gets the external $$. I'm not saying that is right, but it may be the reality.


Genomic Repairman
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That's what I was thinking PLS, but he could throw 10% Ajax's way and besides I think their grad school covers their stipends for at least the first year if not up to the second year.


Nikkilina
Washington University School of Medicine
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I hadn't thought about that PLS. That's a really good point.


Brian Krueger, PhD
Columbia University Medical Center
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The first year stipend is typically covered by the department and then the student "pays it back" by TA-ing a class after comps.


Genomic Repairman
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Ajax's institution does not require any teaching commitment so he, like I is nothing but a labrat.


Why am I doing this again?
Washington University
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Well that extra $$ can also be going into more lab equipment, better reagents, etc., so Ajax could actually get a really great project and wonderful publications out of it.  Also, with the uncertianty of grant money now-a-days, I would be keeping the extra cash as well.  Rewarding him isn't necessary...but it would have been nice to throw Ajax a bone.  I think he is being a smart entrepreneur.


Genomic Repairman
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Is an extra 2-3k going to really push your already pretty well established lab over the top?  To me by even giving him a minimal pittance over the stipend you are sending a message to your other students:  Get your own money, not only does it look good on your CV but I will reward you with some extra money.  And also Ajax gets a couple of grand a year from the fellowship for consumables and travel funds too, so the lab is already getting extra money to get better equipment.


Nikkilina
Washington University School of Medicine
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Maybe the PI will give him something more intangible like extra time off?


Why am I doing this again?
Washington University
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2-3K is a month maintananence fee for a mouse colony, it is the cost of 2.5 months of tubes and tips, it is the usage fee for the shared thingum-a-jig in the common room that everyone needs for the last step of their experiment...every penny counts in a profession where you are not guaranteed the next big paycheck.  A good PI will seriously consider that.  If you want to send a good message to the rest of the troops then through Ajax a little party, open up a $40 dollar bottle of champagne.

DrugMonkey

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I think in terms of motivating desirable behavior. the PI fucked this one up on that score.


becca
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Cheap bastard to not shuffle any of the funds his way.

I think it's ok for a PI to either

1) not raise the guys stipend, but earmark the funds his fellowship brought in for any extra specially nice reagents/supplies/technical assistance that can be purchased to expediate his project. This guy should be getting precast gels and premade buffers, and possibly a work-study undergrad minion to help in the summer.

or

2) splitting the 'extra' money- half to the guy's stipend and half to the lab. It's about the same overhead rate many institutions charge, right?

In the absense of either plan, the incentive structure gets screwed up. Applying for fellowships takes TIME. This guy has basically DONATED extra time- in theory, he would have graduated that much faster if he hadn't bothered with the F31. In reality, of course, we know what will happen instead- he will probably do more science, and better science and graduate in the same amount of time. The PI benefits from any work he does beyond what is necessary to get the postdoc he wants. So the student should see *some* kind of benefit from it, besides the nice CV line.

 

@PLS- I agree, in general as far as my personal philosophy about lab funding goes. I'd rather take a 20% salary hit then see someone fired. Would you?

The thing is, from the perspective of the interests of the student, one more student in the lab means that much less time from the PI, that many fewer reagents, and one extra PhD to compete with for postdocs in the long run. In other words, from the perspective of existing PhD students, *more* PhD students is a serious threat, not a benefit (barring, of course, considerations like the colleageality and extra progress you can make with a *good* grad student in your lab; but unless Ajax gets to *choose* the student, it's not a fair assumption that he will benefit from the PI using that funding for a salary)

@Brian- T32s are an entirely different matter. In most institutions, the tremendous amount of extra effort the PIs put forth on putting in training grants are not well-rewarded (i.e. they take way more time than the funding they are worth- unless they get 'credit' for research *and* teaching out of it, there's a powerful DISincentive for PIs to work on them). Yes, they tend to put the good students on the training grant, but in all likelihood the role you, specifically, as an individual getting funded under one played in actually helping the institution get the grant is negligible. Whereas an F31 is money that *would not be there* if not for Ajax, specifically, and the work he is doing. At least in theory.


Nikkilina
Washington University School of Medicine
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I kind of like the idea of a party or some sort of intralab recognition for taking the initiative.


Odyssey
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1) The PI is a cheap bastard.

2) Ajax deserves an increased stipend and a party.

 


Dr Becca, Ph.D.
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What Odyssey said.

Also, I can't tell from your post whether or not Ajax asked for a raise, or if it's just that the PI didn't offer it...? When I got my post-doctoral NRSA I went to my boss and re-negotiated my salary, which included a small but significant bump up from the NIH minimum. He was completely amenable.

 


Genomic Repairman
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Ajax asked and was flatly denied.


Nikkilina
Washington University School of Medicine
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Did the PI at least offer some sort of justification?


Genomic Repairman
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No real justification he pretty much just said that "you have made this stipend why would you need anymore money?"


Why am I doing this again?
Washington University
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Was he denied and then asked to bring breakfast at the next lab meeting?

Lynn

Guest Comment

When I was a postdoc on a T32 for a couple years, the T32 stated that the postdocs would get raises every year.  Well, I didn't, because the PI was cheap.  HOWEVER - I quit the postdoc early because it was just not meeting my needs at that point in my career (I was ready to have a little help getting my own funding and preparing to start my own lab, but the professor didn't want to be a real advisor, so I left).  Anyway, a few months after I left, the NIH audited the PI and the T32, discovered that even though he'd said in the grant that we'd get raises each year he did not give them to us, and forced him to send me my $4000 even though I didn't work there any more because it had been promised to me in writing.  TAKE THAT, you a-hole....Cool


Brian Krueger, PhD
Columbia University Medical Center
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Why am I doing this again? said:

Well that extra $$ can also be going into more lab equipment, better reagents, etc., so Ajax could actually get a really great project and wonderful publications out of it.


My only gripe with this logic is that I've been in multiple labs where we get to within a month of the end of the fiscal year and the PI says, "Quick we need to spend $20K or else we have to give the money back to the government."  And then we buy stupid shit like new computers, mouse pads, pens for a year...  So to have some asshole get all uppity over a couple thousand dollars a years seems a bit ridiculous to me.  Maybe I was just in labs that were in better financial positions than this guy, but it sounds like from what GR has said that this guy is pretty well off, can afford to pay more, but has chosen to be a dickhead.


Prof-like Substance
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@Becca My point was that sometimes money is tied up for salary and taking 20% out of that pot might make the rest less useful. Even if the grad school covers the first year, that is only one year. I don't disagree that I would do anything I could to reward that lab member for getting their own money. In fact, I have done that in my own lab. However, their may be constraints that are not visible to students. Certainly, those should be communicated so as to avoid alienating good students and conversations like this.

 

On the subject of the grad student seeing others as a threat, sorry, but get over yourself. Yes, there are labs that collect students like cord wood, but in most places the addition of an extra student can make a big positive difference in a lot of ways. If you are going to start viewing your peers as threats, I see that as a very dangerous attitude.


JanedeLartigue
UC Davis
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I'm kind of torn on this one.  I think becca hit the nail on the head for me.  At least a portion of that money should be set aside to help out Ajax on his project if he isn't given a pay rise.  I definitely think it's worthwhile acknowledging the fact that Ajax got a fellowship funded and is bringing extra money into the lab, but I can also see the point that it does also free up funds for other things in the lab.  One idea might be to send him to a really great overseas conference that not everyone in the lab gets to go to.


JaySeeDub
Dub C Med School
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When Ajax was denied was there any reason given that would give insight into why the PI is being so tight?

It doesn't really excuse saying "no" when the funds are available and the situation warrants a raise, but if the PI is seeing something down the line, that could explain things.  It may not be  great explanation, but I've always been more upset with a flat "no" than a "no" with some sort of adequate reasoning behind it.


Will
UC Davis
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That is a tough one.  I think that it is unfair and I'm sure that the PI could do something about if they wanted to, but they chose not to and use the money in what they consider a better way.  Not sure where I stand on this one.


Genomic Repairman
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Genomic RepairMom chimed in with an email to me that asked if Ajax's PI was my father because, "he is the cheapest motherfucker in the world.  He'd bitch it wasn't enough if you could even squeeze water from a stone."


becca
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@Prof-like substance- see, I've never been in a lab where EITHER the PI's time, OR lab supply funds were not severely limited. I've also been around a LOT of PIs who assume that if they want things to move faster, the only options they can have as a PI are

1) demanding more hours of work out of the same number of people

2) adding more trainees

The ideas of adding additional hands (e.g. a work-study undergrad) to help on *existing* projects, or getting more experiments/hour by adding time savers (that are viewed as silly luxuries in most labs I've been in, e.g. precast gels) are frustratingly rare.

So, what I'm getting at is that there's a huge difference between viewing people in your lab as a *threat* and accepting the reality that adding new lab members may not represent a *net benefit* to an individual who is not the PI (in the context of many or most labs, anyway- a lab *just* getting off the ground may benefit so much simply from the presense of another warm body that this doesn't apply).

Almost all PIs I know, until they come violently head to head with the limits of their attention spans, would always love to have more people working for them (provided the funding isn't an issue). I think when you are just starting out your lab, you *have* to be kind of aggressive in recruiting, and one of the reasons labs go through awkward growing pains when professors go from assistant to associate prof is that some PIs have trouble shaking the 'more people = better lab' mentality. I think the *typical* development pathway for a PI is with the skillset of *attracting* N people to the lab coming before the skillset of *managing* N people in the lab.

It's also really hard to sympathize with a PI saying "I've already earmarked those funds for another trainee" when there is no a priori way to assume the money would come in. That is, an F31 arrives partially through the efforts of a particular trainee. To earmark it for someone else, you pretty much have to 1) assume someone in your lab will get one no matter what else happens and 2) that the lab is collectively entitled to money that arrives because of the efforts of a particular person who isn't the PI. And since 'the lab is collectively entitled to' does not mean 'the lab collectively gets to decide' (since no lab I know if is run with democratic budgets), it's basically going to seem like the PI appropriating the trainee's funds.


Will
UC Davis
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Becca your statement of  "I think the *typical* development pathway for a PI is with the skillset of *attracting* N people to the lab coming before the skillset of *managing* N people in the lab" is spot on.

PIs do need to acquire the skillsets to manage a large group.  It is not easy and you get little training in the early part of your career.


Nikkilina
Washington University School of Medicine
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Have I mentioned that I love Genomic RepairMom??


Will
UC Davis
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Yes!  Does that mean that you don't get the points!


JanedeLartigue
UC Davis
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I think we all love Genomic RepairMom! iPads for everyone!


JanedeLartigue
UC Davis
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Nice try though Will!


Nikkilina
Washington University School of Medicine
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I wish iPads for everyone. Jane's recruited even more help, so I think I'm pretty much screwed.


JanedeLartigue
UC Davis
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You're putting up a damn good fight! May the best woman win!


Nikkilina
Washington University School of Medicine
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I'm trying, but I really don't know how I can compete with 4 affiliates! My husband is really disappointed. He was hoping that we would get it.


JanedeLartigue
UC Davis
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It ain't over til the fat lady (who's been drinking too many fizzy drinks) sings!


Nikkilina
Washington University School of Medicine
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Well if you and Will keep having whole conversations, I won't be able to keep up!!


Namnezia
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Students in my grad program all get the same stipend, regardless of fellowship status. However the university does award a small bonus as an incentive to write good fellowships.

 


genegeek
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Where I did my PhD, the rules were set up for the entire department because of cheap PIs. Basically, you had to pay your graduate students the same as a base scholarship (15K at the time - it was a few years ago). If they taught a class, you weren't allowed to hold money back. If the student got a scholarship, they get an extra 25% of the base scholarship from the PI. Note: Before the department would accept a student, the PI had to prove that the funds were available to pay for base scholarships so there couldn't be a cry of poverty later.

They had to set up these rules because some PIs were loading their labs with students, making them teach courses to survive and paying them nothing. Once they put the rules in, it helped with a lot of misunderstandings. Plus, students who brought in money were only taking 25% of the money budgeted for students. There was still 75% left.


biochem belle
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I'm with Will and Janede. It's a tough call. One issue is where does the money come from. Similar to the postdoc salary situation we discussed recently, there are restrictions on how a F31-funded trainee's stipend can be supplemented. Even if the PI is well-funded, if it's all federal funds, his hands are kind of tied. So, Brian, even if the PI has $20K left on a grant at the end of the year, the limitations on supplementation of F31 (and F32, K01, etc.) stipend, as far as I can tell, bar the use of that 'extra money' to give Ajax a raise.

That being said, when I was awarded an F31, my department supplemented my stipend to bring it to the same level as other grad students, since they were paying slightly above the NIH payscale. Also my stipend was initially boosted by the institutional fellowships/"topping out" awards. When those ran out after my 4th year, I brought it up with my PI, and he designated some slush funds to bring my pay up close to where it had been at the start.

If Ajax's PI doesn't have 'discretionary' funds from an internal or non-federal source to spare (e.g. he doesn't have any or has them but they're committed to something else), then he could at least be honest about it. From the PI's response, it does sound like he really is just being a cheap bastard.


Genomic Repairman
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Ajax's boss has non-discretionary funds (a shit ton of money in his own university foundation acct) and the fellowship is from a private foundation that will fund him at his current stipend level.

biochem belle
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Then I would say the PI is definitely just being a cheap bastard.


Prof-like Substance
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Alright, so a few things here. First off, I will reiterate again for Becca's sake, that grant money is often categorized and can sometimes not easily be moved between said categories. I know that this is not something that trainees see, but just because there is money in a grant doesn't mean that it can be spent on anything. Salary can often be a difficult category to mess with, getting me back to my point that removing 20% of a stipend as a bonus COULD mean that a PI only then has an 80% stipend (ie. not enough) to offer another trainee.

 

On the topic of how to run a lab and how to put X number of people on Y number of projects, there is an infinite number of solutions here (some good, some bad), so debating this is pointless.

 

Finally, with GR's additional info about the PI's discretionary funds, all of this is moot.

 

The PI is a Cheap fuck.


Why am I doing this again?
Washington University
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Genomic Repairman said: Ajax's boss has non-discretionary funds (a shit ton of money in his own university foundation acct) and the fellowship is from a private foundation that will fund him at his current stipend level.

Dude, you needed to include this into the original article!


Why am I doing this again?
Washington University
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I just spoke to a PI who said that their required departmental contributions from grants are being increased from 50% to 60%! And they run their own NMR facility!  As a PI I would be hoarding every last cent I could keep!


JanedeLartigue
UC Davis
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I think it's definitely difficult for PI's, more difficult that students/postdocs etc give them credit for as pointed out by a number of posts, but given what GR revealed, I would definitely say we can conclude in this case he's a cheap bastard! I agree that you should add that into the original post.


Genomic Repairman
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I have intentionally left out information that I slowly revealed and I'll let you in on the rest of the story tomorrow.


NatC
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I think the PI is cheap, excluding the caveats listed above.


But can we think about one other issue with supplentation: what about grad students that are INELIGIBLE for grants (training or NRSAs or NSF etc), such as international students? Doesn't supplementing student's salaries on the basis of getting a grant means disadvantaging students who are already at a disadvantage for not being able to apply for funding?


Where possible, the grad student stipend should be supplemented, but equal treatment of students in the lab bears thinking about too.



AGreenMonster
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Something like that happened to me when I was a PHD student.  I was encouraged by my supervisor to apply for these things but when I got the scholarship, I didn't feel she even acknowledged the fact that I was saving her more than 10 thousands of $$.   Afterall if I had *not* gotten the scholarship, she would have had to pay me practically the same amount because PhDs are guaranteed funding (for 3 years).  I felt she was being cheap too.  I understand one could say that she was saving that $$ for another student but she wasn't going to be hiring new students that year anyways, and sometimes it's just a matter of the gesture not the totally $ increase.


Thankfully the dept did give me another smaller scholarship for bringing in the money which was nice as it covered tuition. 


The annoying thing was when in my last 6 months, I recieved another scholarship but then according to the dept I was over the required period of time when they guarantee funding.  so even though I was good enough for  the agency to give me funding for 6 months, I wasn't good enough for the dept to give me another reward for getting that scholarship. 


So although I agree that yes, the "saved" money by the PI might be used some other way (not always for supplies when earmarked for salaries), I think it's also important to recognize the student/trainee for obtaining this funding.   We all know money is tight, hence again why a gesture showing the appreciation for your success, would mean a lot to a graduate student.


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