12 responses to “Academic Breakdown (No, Not that kind…)”

  1. Daniel

    Nice breakdown. I’m regularly amazed at how much it costs to do research.

  2. gasstationwithoutpumps

    Jorge Cham expressed academic workload better at
    http://www.phdcomics.com/comics.php?f=1060

  3. Stanley Ma

    Chris is right, most engineers are implementers of projects defined by a small group of people consisting of tech managers and marketing/sales people. It only makes sense and even your post allude to this fact. You, being the manager of grad students, find the money and write the proposals. The grad students then perform the research. It’s not a perfect analogy, but I think you get my point.

  4. FrauTech

    “The second reason was because my impression about industry is they have a lot more money to work with than academia and so large proposals should be fairly common.”

    Yes in industry we write huge “proposals”. There is a whole department of contracts and proposals teams whose whole job it is to write proposals. The most I have seen it filter down to the engineering department level is when we are asked to do a technical evaluation of a subcontractor’s bid or help with pricing on prototype items where real cost doesn’t exist yet. So you’re right industry has a lot more money to play with, but you’re not thinking big enough.

    Also a lot of engineering “industry” is completely commercial in which case I’m not sure if there would be any proposal or grant writing going on whatsoever.

  5. db

    However, if the advisor just makes all his/her students work as teaching assistants instead then I would imagine the cost of the research conducted in his/her lab decreases significantly.

    1. brainfreeze

      And the productivity would go down somewhat, too. If being a TA did not consume any time, there would be no need to compensate people for it.

      Plus, an individual faculty member usually cannot decide unilaterally to assign his/her student to work as a TA. Most departments have a limited number of TA slots and these usually are assigned at the department level. So a professor can request a TA position for his/her student, but is not always assured of getting it.

  6. Anand Singh

    Nice breakdown. I’m regularly amazed at how much it costs to do research.

    I know someone who had an advisor that thought it was perfectly reasonable to TA.

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