Scientists' Mobility

I would like to comment on the two recent articles by Susan L-J Dickinson that appeared in The Scientist: one on the confrontation between Temple University and Carlo Croce's group [June 24, 1991, page 1], and one on nomadic scientists [July 22, 1991, page 1]. One aspect of American science that has made American scientists so successful is their mobility. This mobility has been generated by the system of grants, which makes the scientist essentially independent of university funds. Serious p

Renato Baserga
Nov 10, 1991

I would like to comment on the two recent articles by Susan L-J Dickinson that appeared in The Scientist: one on the confrontation between Temple University and Carlo Croce's group [June 24, 1991, page 1], and one on nomadic scientists [July 22, 1991, page 1]. One aspect of American science that has made American scientists so successful is their mobility. This mobility has been generated by the system of grants, which makes the scientist essentially independent of university funds.

Serious problems can, and do, arise when scientists move from one institution to another. According to present legislation, grants are given to an institution, and not to an investigator. This, in my opinion, is a figment of the imagination: Investigator-initiated grants, for all practical purposes, are given to the investigator.

The transfer of a grant to a new institution should be automatic, with the granting agency intervening only to ensure that...

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