Friday, September 05, 2008

Setting people up for success

Among many other things covered in a 2007 article entitled "Letter from America: Random Walks By Young Economists" by Princeton economist Angus Deaton, this stuff stood out (for obvious reasons):

... in recognition of the extent to which economists salaries are too low, in spite of their sharp growth, new assistant professors do very little teaching, one course in the first year, two and a half courses in the second year and then, to recover from that effort, a full year off in the third. Included in the bargain is a slush fund that would buy a small house in much of the US (although not in Princeton or Cambridge). (I am exaggerating only to the extent of representing the best offers as typical.) ...

Deaton's article is about economics; in science and engineering, the start-up grants in US universities are in the range of 200 K to 500 K dollars (or, Rs. 0.8 to 2 crores!) In biomedical fields, they could even top a million dollars (see the comments section of these posts).

Bottomline: Modern scientific research -- and particularly experimental research -- is very, very expensive. If you hire bright young assistant professors and provide them with a paltry start-up grants, you are setting them up for a mediocre career at best, or a failure at worst.


  1. Pushkar said...

    you may like to take a look at this link

    views of CNR Rao about new IITs