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Grappling With Laboratory Budgets: NIH, a Workshop, and Software Offer Help

Pity the academic researcher. Doing good science is hard enough, but getting grants and spending them wisely may be even more daunting. By instinct and training, most scientists aren't cut out to be money managers or accountants. Yet, researchers are being thrust ever more into the fiscal realm. "PIs [principal investigators] are carrying more responsibility for the administration of their awards than they have in the past," observes Julie Norris, director of the Office of Sponsored Programs at

Douglas Steinberg

Pity the academic researcher. Doing good science is hard enough, but getting grants and spending them wisely may be even more daunting. By instinct and training, most scientists aren't cut out to be money managers or accountants. Yet, researchers are being thrust ever more into the fiscal realm. "PIs [principal investigators] are carrying more responsibility for the administration of their awards than they have in the past," observes Julie Norris, director of the Office of Sponsored Programs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


DETECTING ERRORS: Grant Tracker, which sells for $199, can detect when an expense has been charged to the wrong account.
"What's happening is that there is a higher expectation of accountability," says Ann Anderson, director of grant and contract accounting at the University of Washington. "It's coming from the federal agencies and the Congress" as they cast about for ways to balance the federal budget,...

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