Friday, March 10, 2006

NASA - ATP and BEFS '06 awards are cut

What can you do with a 0.8421 of a postdoc?

Just received an e-mail.
Short version is that the proposals selected for the 2006 (current year) Astrophysics Theory Program and the Beyond Einstein Foundation Science Program are to be cut. After the fact.
The cuts will be in the amounts awarded, not the number of selected proposals. Less money was provided for that (sub)line item after the selection was done, so the dollar amount provided is cut.

These programs primarily fund analysis and theoretical modeling support for current and future missions, as well as modeling of sources and future science targets. Typically they fund 3 year postdoctoral positions. Typical grant will fund one postdoc, or possibly 1/2 postdoc with some cost-sharing with another source of funding.

"...The final FY06 budget is less than what we had assumed when we sent out the acceptance letters, and so there will have to be reductions to the award amounts given in your acceptance letter, but these will be minor. [you will be receiving a] new letter giving your new grant amounts for FY06 and beyond. I remind you that, as your acceptance letters indicated, you should not incur expenses until you have an account officially set up."

The "jobs round" in astronomy is winding down, first round of postdoc offers traditionally require a response by Feb 15 (AAS rules) and second round offers are pretty much shaken out now. So... if you got your ATP/BEFS award letter before christmas, then you could just have advertised for a postdoc in time to have made an offer and got it accepted already.
Oops. No expense incurred yet, of course, just binding offers made for start in the autumn, and now there is not enough money to actually pay the person...
How many people have multiple grants they piece together, again?

Shades of the 1994 cuts, so far. We're not done yet.


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