Date: Sat Aug 22 07:11:01 2009 Back to Contents ------------------------------------------------------------------------

Author: Urs Lauterburg

Subject: Re: Cost-Cutting / Money-Making Measures in Tough


Well, this is a difficult theme and one may argue
if it's on or off topic for the scope of this
list. However, if we don't get funded then we
won't be engaged in our profession. So it is a
very essential theme I think.

If the capacity of existing money sources
decrease for whatever reason that is, the only
reasonable thing to do is to adjust the usage.
The question is how one would go about. In a
heterogenous society where different parts of the
population have different opinions about what is
important what is not you are bound do get into
heavy debates. On the other hand there are some
facts to consider.

Arguing about the most essential and important
domains for a society I think it's clear that a
sustaining food and energy
production/distribution is vital. Everything else
is based on the two. It should be clear that
these two aspects can only exist if a sufficient
number of talented people are professionally
engaged in science and engineering. The very
foundation for these disciplines is physics, the
fundamental understanding of how a substantial
part of our nature is shaped. It should be clear
that investing in education in physics leads to a
good and important return of the resources spent.
Thus despite the fact that other, generally more
man centered academic disciplines are interesting
and important as well, there should a rational
emphasis if funding gets tighter.

If I would be in charge (OK I am not) of making
funding decisions, I would begin by questioning
certain administrative mechanisms and would aim
to minimize the associated amount of work to an
efficiently functional level. In my opinion
administration of today also includes all
IT-technologies and it's my feeling that a lot of
resources are waisted in these domains. The vast
turnover of hard- and software in these areas are
usually coupled with continuous expenses and
expensive personnel resources. I would generally
try to emphasize on systems which are cleverly
designed and which therefore last longer because
they are easy to setup, operate and maintain.

For this I decided to use Apple computers
exclusively for everting I do in my professional
domain of physics education. I am able to setup,
operate and maintain all our computer resources
on my own by just spending a little fraction of
my time on related activities and with marginal
help from external staff. Also I was able to keep
the turnover of hardware on a very low level
while automatically updating the software
gradually in little steps to an efficiently
functional present state.

All that said, possibly the most efficient
solution will be the one presented at the end of
this little sketch ;-)

Have fun


Urs Lauterburg
Physics demonstrator
Physikalisches Institut
University of Bern

>Hi Taplers,
>In these tough financial times we are being asked for our ideas
>as to how the University can cut costs or possibly produce additional income.
>I am beginning to sketch some stuff,
>but will most likely be unaware of some of the ³bigger ideas²
>because that has not been where I have worked over the decades.
>If you would like to share any ideas, they would be most welcome,
>and I would share them with Dept, Division and University ­
>still retaining your name as ³suggestor,² of course.
>Also, I would be willing to provide links
>to leaders with whom you could share directly,
>or you could just google them up.
>Many thanks, Bill Norwood, U of MD at College Park

From Sat Aug 22 07:11:01 2009