Below are comments that we received for topics that were raised in the March-April issue.
On scientific job openings
The NIH tenure track system was revamped last year, and the new staff scientist track was created. Such
positions were supposed to be open application to remove the old-boy network that used to exist at NIH. But
as we all know, there are ways around every system. How many of these advertised positions are "real," and
how many are carefully tailored for a particular candidate from the lab itself? Some of the job ads seem to
be ridiculously specific - just pick up some of the weekly job announcements for scientists at NIH and it's
obvious some are designed to exclude all but a particular person. If nothing's really changed, why pretend
it has? It's still an old-boy network.
When an institute decides it needs to find a person to fill a programmatic need in a tenure-track slot, there are often candidates within the lab who apply for the job. The heterogeneous composition of the search committee guarantees that neither the lab or branch chief nor the scientific director will guide the search, and in all cases, multiple candidates for the position are reviewed and interviewed. Sometimes the "inside" candidate, if there is one, is best qualified, sometimes not. With respect to this being an "old-boy network," fully 27% of the candidates found by searches for NIH tenure track positions have been women. The best evidence that the program is more open is that since the search process was mandated, nearly half of recruits to tenure-track positions at NIH have come from outside institutions and another 18% trained at a different NIH institute than the one offering the job.
- Michael Gottesman, DDIR
Glycoday, Act II
The second annual Glycoday celebration, hosted by NIH's Glycobiology Interest Group, will be held May 28 at the Holiday Inn in Annapolis, Md. There is no registration fee, but interested parties must preregister by May 21.
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