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Career Path Difficulties

Speaking from the point of view of someone about to complete a Ph.D. and get a job (hopefully), I feel compelled to comment on two adjacent articles that appeared in The Scientist.1, 2 In the first of these articles, a National Institutes of Health official comments that "we have, to some extent, distorted the job market by encouraging scientists to use grad students instead of highly trained technicians because [grad students] are so inexpensive," and, "We probably should be making an effort to

Monica Eiland

Speaking from the point of view of someone about to complete a Ph.D. and get a job (hopefully), I feel compelled to comment on two adjacent articles that appeared in The Scientist.1, 2 In the first of these articles, a National Institutes of Health official comments that "we have, to some extent, distorted the job market by encouraging scientists to use grad students instead of highly trained technicians because [grad students] are so inexpensive," and, "We probably should be making an effort to pay grad students more and make more respectable use of well-trained technicians." Because the NIH officials set the pay scales for grad students, they are the ones best prepared to alter the situation.

The solution, however, inevitably involves the expenditure of more money without increasing the number of funded projects. This would seem to present a difficult task to NIH, which must justify such increased...

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