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Tis a good time to be a life scientist. Thanks to increases in the National Institutes of Health budget, a flood of defense spending, and a gradual warming in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, experienced investigators are in great demand.

For senior US researchers, the benefits of the federal largesse appear in 2003 paychecks, according to The Scientist's latest salary survey. The average senior researcher, who holds a PhD and leads a lab, will earn $73,351(US) this year, a 7.3% increase over the $68,000 (US) average in 2002. Intermediate researchers' salaries rose 4.7%, from $48,000 to $50,250. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose only 2.1% in the 12-month period ending in July.

But researchers across the northern US border and across the Atlantic may not be popping champagne corks. Senior UK scientists, who consistently receive lower salaries than their US counterparts,1 saw their wages increase by...

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