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Schools shouldering more research costs

Cost of research is rising and so is universities' share of overhead expenses, study finds

Catherine Zandonella(catzan@nasw.org)

The cost of setting up newly hired science faculty members with laboratory space and equipment is sapping an increasing portion of US university budgets. That fact, coupled with the federal policy of granting fewer dollars for overhead research costs, means that US schools are now shouldering a significantly greater share of the costs of scientific research, a new study reports.

"The question is, if they didn't have to bear these costs, what would they do with the money?" said Ronald G. Ehrenberg, lead author of the study presented Tuesday (May 20) at a Cornell Higher Education Research Institute conference in Ithaca, New York.

Ehrenberg and colleagues surveyed 572 faculty department chairs about the costs of setting up a laboratory for new faculty. Start-up costs for junior faculty in biology departments ranged from $403,000 to $437,000 at private universities and from $308,000 to $430,000 at public ones. Costs for senior faculty...

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