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March 12, 1982 - Image 8

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1982-03-12

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Page 8-Friday, March 12, 1982-The Michigan Daily
Some profs criticize mdfrect costs

By JOHN ADAM
When is $100,000 less than $100,000?
When you're a University researcher
who wins that amount in a federal
research grant.
A researcher will never see 58 per-
cent of the grant he or she gets from an
agency like the National Science Foun-
dation, because that portion goes direc-
tly to the University for what is called
"indirect cost recovery."
FROM A $100,000 grant, a researcher
actually receives only $42,000 for such
expenses as supplies, travel funds,
computer time, pay for graduate
student assistants, and part of the
researcher's own salary.
The remaining $58,000 goes to cover
expenses like utilities, general ad-
ministration services, libraries, and
building and equipment maintenance.
But many University researchers

resent these indirect cost payments,
claiming they are unnecessarily high
taxes on their research funds.
"I HAVE THE same gut reaction,"
said University Vice President for
Research Charles Overberger, who still
conducts his own chemistry research
on grant money. But the indirect cost
charges "aren't contrived," he said;
they cover real University expenses
previously incurred.
Many faculty members, however,
don't buy the administration's line. In a
1981 survey by the Research Policies
Committee, faculty members cited in-
direct costs as the second greatest
discouragement to research, following
scarcity of travel funds.
One of the 2,086 respondents to the
survey actually stated that, "Unless the
situation improves, I'll simply leave the
University."

MANY PROFESSORS argue that if the
University is going to collect such a
high percentage from the research
grants-few other institutions com-
pare-the administration should at
least send more of the indirect cost
money to the researchers' own depar-
tments.
"The issue of whether indirect costs
should go back to the department will
always be a burning one," said Aubrey
Hicks, the University's chief auditor.
The University's Institute for Social
Research, described by Director F.
Thomas Juster as an "historical ac-
cident which everyone agrees has
worked out well," receives all of the in-
direct cost reimbursements generated
by its researchers. This unique
arrangement "has played a key role"
in the institute's success, according to
Juster.
HE SAID, however, that the creation

of more anomalies like ISR probably
would not be effective. Although it uses
some centralized services, the institute
has its own development proposals and
business staff. Juster said he isn't cer*
tain it would make much sense to
create separate business offices for
each University unit.
There is a myth about indirect costs,
he explained, which leaves many
faculty members misinformed. The
idea that the University is making, a
profit by collecting the reimbursements
is off-base, but the administration has
not gone out of its way to dispel ,the
myth, according to Juster.
Vice President Overberger, who was
instrumental in returning more indirect
cost funds to the individual units
several years ago, said the ad-
ministration is now think of going fur-
ther in that direction.

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'U'research expands despite retrenchment

(Continued from Page 1)
second in terms of industrial support,
he said, and nearly that high in federal
support. Now, however, the University
is third or fourth in industrial support,
and its spot for federal funds has slip-
ped into double digits.
At the root of the problem, according
to many faculty members, lies a poor
research environment. Although Over-
berger describes the atmosphere as
"good and healthy" and better than it
was five or 10 years ago, several
published faculty reports disagree.
ONE OF those reports was triggered
by a vehement complaint to Over-
berger in 1979 by James Duderstadt,

.q

chairman of the advisory committee on
academic affairs and now dean of the
School of Engineering.
"Our point here was that the research
environment on this campus has
deteriorated to the point where faculty
are easily drawn off campus to perform
the same activities that they might
have performed on campus under the
more favorable conditions that existed
in the past," he stated.
"We must provide positive incentives
to attract this activity back onto cam-
pus," Duderstadt said.
ACCORDING TO Vice President
Frye, the most critical needs are to in-

crease support for graduate research
assistants, to provide more funds for
equipment, and to possibly use more
indirect cost reimbursements (See
related story, Page 8) as "seed money"
to get projects started.
Overberger said he agrees with Frye.a
"We do want to reward those units that
show achievement," he explained, ad-
ding that it is not a simple problem.
Frye also said that part of the $20
million to be reallocated in his Five-
Year Plan will go to increase faculty
and staff salaries.
ACCORDING TO Frye, some of the
new research policies are based on
material gathered in a 1981 survey-the
Rutledge Report,. named after then-
chairman of the Research Policies
Committee Lester Rutledge-which
was inspired by Duderstadt's com-
plaint.

Vice President Frye, a major ar-
chitect of the University's retrench-
ment plans, said the DRDA will be
scrutinized, but said he does not want to
single it out.
Other service units, such as Accoun-
ting, Personnel, and Purchasing, will
also have to submit a cost reduction
evaluation. The Rutledge report said a
significant amount of faculty members
consider such units disincentives to
research.
"I don't think there's fat to trim there
(in the support services) that can be cut
away and leave the service unaltered,"
Frye said. But, he added, there are
areas in the University-he would not
specify which ones-in which reduction
would cause improvement.

Japanese-American recalls

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internment in
(Continued from Page 5)
Supreme Court in 1944 in the case of 9
Korematsu vs. the United States.
"IT (THE internment) was really a c
tragic act on the part of the gover-
nment," Morikawa said. "The White r
House, Congress, and the Supreme w
Court conspired together; and forged 8
the injustice. It was clearly uncon-s
stitutional." b
"However," Morikawa added, "the K
real tragedy is that for 40 years, no E
public admission of public wrong-doing
was made."
Not until 1980, when Congress
established the Commission on War- i
time Relocation and Internment of w
Civilians, was any real action taken to
investigate the matter. Until then, only c
about $38 million had been paid by the f

WW IH camp
government in property claims, les
han 10' percent of the actual amount
laimed lost by those interned.
THE EXPRESSED purpose of the
elocation commission was to decide
what compensation, if any, was due the
0,000 surviving former camp residen-
s. Among those who have testified
efore the commission were Morikawa,
arl Bendetwen, the official who direc-
ed the relocation, and Miltqz
Eisenhower, former president of Johns
Hopkins University.
The commission finished its hearings
n December. It is preparing a report
which is due by the end of the year. ,
Morikawa says he does not have any
ontinuing resentment. "We can't af-
ord that. It can't happen again, with
ny people.",

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