posted on March 15: McMaster’s research enterprise feeling effects of MUSA strike


McMaster's research enterprise is feeling the effects of the
current MUSA strike, says vice-president of research &
international affairs, Gerhard Gerber.

Individual faculty members are awarded research grants or
contracts from external sources based on the performance and
productivity of their research group. These grants require
periodic application for renewal  typically every three to four
years  so at any given time, about one-third of the grants face
an imminent application deadline.

The money awarded through these grants, often referred to as
“soft money,” is then used to conduct the research, which
includes paying the salaries of graduate students, research
technicians and administrative staff. Approximately one-third of
the MUSA members are paid through soft money. These funds
are administered by the University on behalf of the researcher.

Gerber is concerned that, in addition to the immediate impact,
there will be greater long-term effects since grants are not
renewed automatically but are assessed on a competitive basis.
Some researchers have expressed concern that disruptions in
their current research schedules will affect their ability to
compete successfully in subsequent rounds.