A recent issue of Nature included this piece:
Philanthropy: The price of charity
Nature 481,260(19 January 2012)doi:10.1038/481260aPublished online 18 January 2012
Philanthropists should pay their fair share of research costs, says Patrick Aebischer.
I have no idea what this means. If it is about indirects I have already addressed this issue — oddly enough in the pages of Nature.
The idea that philanthropy is free riding on research Universities is should be utterly laughable except in that this misunderstanding shows up the pitiful state of understanding of institutions that we have reached. Philanthropists, unlike governments, are not asking Universities to do anything. Philanthropy is not outsourcing its own research agenda to academics. Universities ask philanthropists to help them fulfill their twin missions of teaching and scholarship. Universities are SUPPOSED to carry out research and scholarship. So a grant to a university is budget relieving; it frees up resources the University would have to spend on salaries or equipment or other resources. There are no costs not being covered – this is a ruse of the worst kind and is a deliberate attempt to divert philanthropic resources. It is time for individuals to learn some history.