Soft Money in Academia networking call recap

Posted by Lauren Hertel on Monday, April 14 2014


On April 2, 2014, ten Switzer Fellows participated in our second networking conference call of 2014 on the topic of soft money in academia.

Topics and strategies discussed on the call included:

  • diminishing federal and state grant money available for research
  • foundation funding increasing in importance
  • potential of doing research outside of academia, for private or non-profit institutions
  • possibility of partnering with agencies to go after bigger grants
  • problem that contracts are not valued as highly by academic institutions as grants because of reduced overhead potential
  • possibility of partnering with outside corporations is a double-edged sword because they often see universities as self-funding
  • advantages of soft money positions: flexibility of work, can work at home, set own hours, don’t have to teach or service in academia
  • opportunity for newer Fellows to do interesting and varied work on soft money early in their careers because they can cover lower salaries more easily
  • overall importance of learning proposal writing and people/networking skills in graduate school or soon after

The topic is admittedly a big one, much too big for a single call.  We would like to know what aspects of the subject most interest Fellows for future networking efforts, so please feel free to post in the comments section below or email me directly if you'd prefer to keep your comments and suggestions private within the network.

We have also decided to find a networking call solution that allows for more interaction via video.  If you have a favorite service you use, please let me know.

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