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已有 34004 次阅读 2014-12-9 12:59 |个人分类:社评|系统分类:观点评述

教授最后的e-mail

鲍海飞 2014-12-9

 

还有象牙塔吗?还有真正的科学研究吗?

前两天读了刘洋的博文《Publish or perish下教授之殇》(http://blog.sciencenet.cn/home.php?mod=space&uid=1750&do=blog&id=848221),近几天又有人贴出感言,我看了,有一些感触。刘洋博文中基本上给出的就是英国帝国学院一名教授原汁原味的一封e-mail。该文主要讲述了一个英国教授Stefan Grimm在其帝国学院是如何被对待的,面对经费满足不了系的要求,最后似乎是在压力之下走上了绝路。

这是一封发人深省的邮件,其开头就别开生面:如果有人对帝国学院的教授是如何被对待的感兴趣的话,那么就请看看我的故事。有人说这个教授的文笔不好,我看到是很精彩的。这个开头,可谓提纲契领,直入主题,让人不由一惊!

If anyone is interested how Professors are treated at Imperial College: Here is my story.

在任何一个社会,人与人之间都需要尊重和礼貌,西方社会更是如此。但当一个教授、即使是普通人,似乎已经感觉到了走投无路的时候,任何一个外人的举动或言语,即使是无意的或者无害的,那么他都会感觉到有什么不自在的,他的反应是敏感的,他的神经是脆弱的。因此,当代表系医药学院领导的Martin Wilkins教授来到Stefan Grimm教授的办公室,询问他这一年的经费收入并给出了他最后的通牒后,随后离开Stefan Grimm教授办公室,这才有了Stefan Grimm 教授的感慨:没有任何补充说明就离开了我的办公室,这时我才意识到他甚至连一点客气或者礼貌的应该顺手把门关上都没有就走了。

从这一点看,资本主义国家的科研人员也需要温情啊,他们也懂得冷暖啊。更不用说这是一个教授的尊严,一个人的尊严了。仅从此处看,我们看到帝国学院的另一个方面就是傲慢的管理者,无情冷酷的管理者,大学仿佛就是他们家开的一样。

On May 30th ’13 my boss, Prof Martin Wilkins, came into my office …… He made it clear that he was acting on behalf of Prof Gavin Screaton, the then head of the Department of Medicine, and told me that I would have a meeting with him soon to be sacked. Without any further comment he left my office. It was only then that I realized that he did not even have the courtesy to close the door of my office when he delivered this message. …….

 

这时,Stefan Grimm教授发出了孤独无奈的一声呐喊:为何如此这般对待教授啊?Why does a Professor have to be treated like that?  

显然,该文采用了倒叙的手法。此前的三月14日,我收到了最后的通牒-逐客令,如果没有年经费收入20万英镑,那么就另寻出路吧,小额资金不能算在20万之内的,你应该拿大项目。真实的原因就在于此。我在一个网站上查到了有关Programme grants该项目资助:提供大型的、长期的(五年)的、可持续的项目资金资助,目的是为帮助医疗科学共同体去思考更大的   ‘Programme grants provide larger, longer term (five years) and renewable programme funding. They aim to help the medical science community to ‘think bigger’.

这段话显而易见,该教授所在的实验室是希望他能够做一个学科带头人,并拿大项目。但Stefan Grimm教授没有做到。

In March ’14 I then received the ultimatum email below. 200,000 pounds research income every year is required. Very interesting. I was never informed about this before and cannot remember that this is part of my contract with the College. Especially interesting is the fact that the required 200,000.pounds could potentially also be covered by smaller grants but in my case a programme grant was expected.

 

在英国的大学里也是一样啊,弱肉强食,狼群里做不了头狼就得离开。

Stefan Grimm教授紧接着说:来自Dammam大学的钱13.5万,怎么就不算数?按照一年的期限去申请项目资助,就仿佛跟买彩票游戏中奖的几率一样。这明显说明了,项目申请获得的几率非常之小,同时也暗示这样的申请就是徒劳。

Our 135,000.- pounds from the University of Dammam? Doesn’t count. I have to say that it was a lovely situation to submit grant applications for your own survival with such a deadline. We all know what a lottery grant applications are.

从此处看出,在英国,教授也是一种高级的摇钱树。他们不是因为项目的研究和困惑而抓耳挠腮、或不知所措,而是因为经费,为了钱财即无计可施又要四处奔波。

有种说法,(就是如果经费不足的话,)那么似乎可以通过更多的教学来弥补。如果是这样的话,我或许还能生存下去!教授本来还是抱着很大的希望!然而,这就是所谓的教学科研、产学研一体化吗?什么教学多少分,经费多少分,产出多少分吧!真是万能的教授啊!

There was talk that the Department had accepted to be in dept for some time and would compensate this through more teaching. So I thought that I would survive. But the email below indicates otherwise. I got this after the student for whom I “have plans” received the official admission to the College as a PhD student. He waited so long to work in our group and I will never be able to tell him that this should now not happen. What these guys don’t know is that they destroy lives. Well, they certainly destroyed mine.

然而,下面Stefan Grimm教授的话却真正揭示了该学校当局的问题:他们只看数字来评价,不是影响因子,就是资助额度,这也暴露出来所谓的西方管理模式。一个连部门小组会都不参加的人,他(们)如何知道我做的研究怎么样呢?我又如何来说服他们我的研究又是如何让人激动呢?而他们的目的就是只顾保证这个部门的财政收入以此来维持他们自己的职业前程。因此,每一个教授都成了该校的摇钱树,招财的法宝。

The reality is that these career scientists up in the hierarchy of this organization only look at figures to judge their colleagues, be it impact factors or grant income. After all, how can you convince your Department head that you are working on something exciting if he not even attends the regular Departmental seminars? The aim is only to keep up the finances of their Departments for their own career advancement.

Stefan Grimm教授随后揭露该校的丑闻,这些令人生畏的领导在玩着有趣的游戏:他们雇佣来自外国的科学家,让他们把他们在国内的工作按照评判英国大学的模式写成申请,此后,他们或者让他们继续完成他们的基金项目或者就一脚踢开。即使你申请到了项目,他们也会认为得到的资助额度不够而把你列为打击对象,而申请到的资金就成为那些别的获得资助的人但是没有产出(应该指文章等)的人。在这里,钱是所有,科学产出没人管。这就一针见血指出当前的科研环境问题!

These formidable leaders are playing an interesting game: They hire scientists from other countries to submit the work that they did abroad under completely different conditions for the Research Assessment that is supposed to gauge the performance of British universities. Afterwards they leave them alone to either perform with grants or being kicked out. Even if your work is submitted to this Research Assessment and brings in money for the university, you are targeted if your grant income is deemed insufficient. Those submitted to the research assessment hence support those colleagues who are unproductive but have grants. Grant income is all that counts here, not scientific output.

从下面的叙述中,可以看出Stefan Grimm教授也是个勤奋的人,今年发表了四篇原始数据的文章,并是一本书的编辑,还写了两篇综述。但这些:都不算数。由此引出科学人玩弄的著名成语:publish or perish,在Stefan Grimm教授这里演变成了Publish and perish!

We had four papers with original data this year so far, in Cell Death and Differentiation, Oncogene, Journal of Cell Science and, as I informed Prof Wilkins this week, one accepted with the EMBO Journal. I was also the editor of a book and wrote two reviews. Doesn’t count.This leads to an interesting spin to the old saying “publish or perish”. Here it is “publish and perish”.

Stefan Grimm教授被这种现实和科学的盛名所困惑。

Stefan Grimm教授更加认识到:现在的大学已不再是大学了,更像是一个商业机构,只有少数几个人在操纵,他们一方面在获利,而从我们这样的研究人员身上就像挤牛奶来榨取,利用教授就是要他拿出经费,利用学生付的钱才能继续完成他们的浮夸报告。

此处,我想到了马克思的资本论,资本的关系就是赤裸裸地金钱关系,就是剥削和被剥削的关系。西方的大学,也正在上演着一幕又一幕这样的人间戏剧。

I fell into the trap of confusing the reputation of science here with the present reality.

This is not a university anymore but a business with very few up in the hierarchy, like our formidable duo, profiteering and the rest of us are milked for money, be it professors for their grant income or students who pay 100.- pounds just to extend their write-up status.

 

Stefan Grimm教授说:而实际上,我不是唯一的被成为打击的对象。其它一些碍于情面的人就是不吱声而已。

I am by far not the only one who is targeted by those formidable guys. These colleagues only keep quiet out of shame about their situation. Which is wrong. As we all know hitting the sweet spot in bioscience is simply a matter of luck, both for grant applications and publications.

One of my colleagues here at the College whom I told my story looked at me, there was a silence, and then said: “Yes, they treat us like sh*t”.

 

该文无时无刻不流露出世间的人情冷暖和对生存的渴盼,在西方也是这样啊。在英国大学里面,估计也有很多像Stefan Grimm教授这样的人,小心翼翼地生活着、工作着,看人家的眼色活着。每天都忐忑不安、惴惴不安、惶恐不安、提心吊胆的活着。一个人处于这样的境地,他又如何从事研究,更不必谈创新了。说白了,该教授也是一介书生,从小到大就会读书了,然后学会了写文章,然后又学会了写基金申请书。当他把一生最美好的时光都贡献给所谓的盛名大学之后,而当大学觉得他们已经没有油水可榨取的时候,便一脚踢开,真是情何以堪?这一介书生,所学的本事,也就只在学校里混混似乎还算有点精彩的味道,让他们到外面去,一脚踢到外面精彩的世界里面去,他们靠什么来活着啊!教授已不再年轻!他又如何去大海里面搏击?

还是中国古人总结得好飞鸟尽,良弓藏;狡兔死,走狗烹。

社会上有各种各样的教授:大教授,小教授,富教授,穷教授,有团伙教授,有散兵游勇的教授,有领导教授,有教授领导,有牛教授,还有马教授,干活的教授,不干活的教授等等。

教授有时似花瓶,有时是摇钱树,有时又如乞丐一般。五花八门的世界,三教九流的教授。科研或许真是富人的游戏!

有人说,这是一封有疑点的邮件,认为其中有捏造、杜撰的成分,但即便如此,就是一封伪造的邮件,那么这也确确实实地反映了英国当前的科研体制和现状。这封信是对西方现代科研体制下状况的描述、甚至是痛诉。

虽然已经有很多人解读了该事件,但这是我个人仅对邮件的部分进行一下粗浅的解读,文中有的地方不知道理解的是否正确,请指正。但通过该事件,整个社会应该反思,大学究竟应该构建一种什么样的人与社会的关系和管理模式?

 

 



教授之殇
http://blog.sciencenet.cn/blog-278905-849615.html

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