157 votes
Accepted

Professor expects me to attend a conference. I can't afford to go,even with 50% funding

I am really hesitant to discuss my financial shortcomings with Prof. M, or else he assumes that I can afford the travel. I think you need to get past this. You do not have financial shortcomings, ...
Patricia Shanahan's user avatar
156 votes
Accepted

Why does research on the busy beaver function get funded?

Extremely likely, this concrete example is useless. So is any other concrete example. However, there are many of these examples, and we do not know which handful of them will be useful. Some ancient ...
Boris Bukh's user avatar
  • 7,419
150 votes

Should I make my research students' pay contingent on completion of tasks (such as reading/summarizing papers)?

Do not do this. At best, you will appear merely stingy; at worst, perhaps financially abusive. (I also suspect your university would not even allow it, but I think that's not as important because it ...
Bryan Krause's user avatar
  • 115k
117 votes
Accepted

Bombed an academic interview, should I do anything about it?

First of all, you should cool down before you take any action. Clearly, the interview was an emotionally intense event for you, so don't do anything in the spur of the moment (and "a few days later" ...
xLeitix's user avatar
  • 135k
100 votes
Accepted

Final report rejected, institution asked to return funding and prosecute my supervisor

You are absolutely not responsible for returning any funding, certainly not at a moral level and almost surely not legally either. You were engaged in research to the best of your ability; as you ...
Buzz's user avatar
  • 20.4k
93 votes
Accepted

Why do universities fund Ph.D. students in the sciences?

A good question. Why would the school make this investment (which could be closer to $100K/year)? As pointed out, if you are TAing/grading/teaching, you are providing services that the school charges ...
Patrick Sanan's user avatar
92 votes

Is this footnote from one of Perelman's papers meant to be a joke, or is it mandatory to list one's source of funding?

Indeed, funding agencies require authors to acknowledge their funding, but it's not mandatory to acknowledge personal resources. To me, however, that footnote doesn't sound like a joke at all, but a ...
Massimo Ortolano's user avatar
91 votes
Accepted

Is it normal to feel like I bought my way into graduate school after being rejected and then accepted when I was awarded an external fellowship?

From what I've heard the NSF fellowship is not an easy one to get, and having one seems to carry some sort of prestige. Sure, the program may have accepted you on the ground that they don't have to ...
Drecate's user avatar
  • 6,570
91 votes

Why does research on the busy beaver function get funded?

The busy beaver function is an important artifact of computability theory- in particular it's known to (asymptotically) grow faster than any computable function. Intuitively this means that it is a "...
David's user avatar
  • 8,266
90 votes
Accepted

Why do researchers need universities?

If I'm understanding the answer correct, professors need funding to do research, but once they get it, the university takes some of the grant as overheads (to pay for office space, electricity, etc), ...
Arcanist Lupus's user avatar
89 votes
Accepted

Are authors of papers okay with receiving questions from people in industry?

I certainly don't see anything immoral about asking questions. You may want to mention your affiliation, which will clarify the issue and perhaps also help the author give a more useful response. ...
Nate Eldredge's user avatar
87 votes
Accepted

My significant other is a member of a research project that I coordinate. How to allocate funding?

I served for a couple of years on the Conflict of Interest Committee of my institution. During that time I learned many useful and sometimes counterintuitive things about the subject. The principles ...
Dan Romik's user avatar
  • 190k
87 votes

Contacted by head of school regarding an issue - should I be worried?

I think you should be worried that you and your colleagues might have to go without pizza the rest of the semester if you've already (unknowingly) burned through the budget, and not much else. You ...
Bryan Krause's user avatar
  • 115k
76 votes
Accepted

Why am I supposed to be respectful toward a person who wants unpaid labor?

The pragmatic answer is that it's a waste of time. Do you really think this professor is going to read your mail and say "Egads! I have seen the error of my ways and am overcome with remorse?&...
cag51's user avatar
  • 68.8k
75 votes

How do so many people here on Academia.SE, and in general, afford lavish higher education programs?

Bachelor and Master degrees are a lot cheaper in Germany. In fact, they are mostly free (you need to organize and pay for your housing and living). For a PhD you don't pay but get paid, often with ...
Maarten Buis's user avatar
  • 43.7k
72 votes

Chair Offers COVID-19 Compensation... But Asks ME to Put Out a Number

There are really two parts to the Chair's question: How much additional work have you had to do so far? What additional work do you anticipate going forward? Are there any time savings that should ...
avid's user avatar
  • 20.1k
71 votes

Why is discrimination based on citizenship allowed in PhD funding in the UK?

I wrote a pretty extensive response on this a little while ago: here and also this may be slightly relevant. The short version is: Because they can be, and because they have to be. UK universities ...
la femme cosmique's user avatar
69 votes

Why am I supposed to be respectful toward a person who wants unpaid labor?

I would not interpret this message: I would like to offer you a position in my lab on [insert project name]. However, without prior experience with your work, I can't offer you funding. We can ...
Bryan Krause's user avatar
  • 115k
66 votes
Accepted

PhD advisor lost funding, need advice

If your advisor can't support you and your research, find another advisor as soon as possible. Your department/grad program should be able to help with this and talking to them should be your next ...
Bryan Krause's user avatar
  • 115k
65 votes

The meaning of "if any" in journal print charges description

In my field (political science), a non-open access journal that charges publication fees clearly raises a red flag. But apparently publication fees in other fields are common for subscription-based ...
henning's user avatar
  • 35.1k
64 votes

Why is obtaining research grants so important to universities?

Given that other responses are quite US-centric, here a counterpoint: in Germany (and possibly many other continental European countries), there used to be no pressure for grant money for regular-...
Captain Emacs's user avatar
63 votes

What does a promise of possible funding "based on availability of departmental funding" actually mean?

Your institution has definitely met the terms laid out in your award letter, which states that there is "possibility of a fourth year based on availability of departmental funding." This does not mean ...
Stella Biderman's user avatar
62 votes

Is it ethical for a PI to tell university to pay out intern's salary for an extra month after internship ends, and keep the money?

The person who owns the money for a project is not the PI, nor even the university, but the funder who has supplied the money. The university, and through that organization the PI, is essentially ...
jakebeal's user avatar
  • 188k
62 votes
Accepted

Is there hard evidence that the grant peer review system performs significantly better than random?

No such study exists. You have to realize that the current model of funding research through grants is rather recent. Fifty years ago, research was funded with recurring credits: a lab/researcher got ...
user106886's user avatar
61 votes

Why am I supposed to be respectful toward a person who wants unpaid labor?

You sound amazingly entitled. You asked for a job, were politely told 'no', and now are snotty about being offered a unpaid internship as a counteroffer. If you don't like the deal offered, just say '...
nerdfever.com's user avatar
59 votes

Should you tell grad students to apply for grants you know they won't get?

If what you say about your students' writing skills and their chances of getting a major grant is accurate, I would say that it's a complete waste of everyone's time - theirs, yours, and the reviewers ...
Barney Cowell's user avatar
59 votes
Accepted

Donating money to scientific research after my death

Funding people instead of projects is in fact a good idea if you are interested in a supporting fundamental research problems to be addressed. There are multiple ways to go about this, and it's a ...
silvado's user avatar
  • 18.8k
58 votes

How do I politely decline a research grant?

How do I politely decline a research grant? Let's be clear here. Based on your account I'm getting the impression that, with a reasonably high level of confidence, there is no way for you to "...
Dan Romik's user avatar
  • 190k
58 votes

Why do researchers need universities?

Another point is about the social environment. Research is a process with many needs, and one of them is contact with like-minded people to share insights, problems, day-to-day peer review, and so on. ...
Cochise's user avatar
  • 1,615

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