PEET and NSF and jobs

Leonard Krishtalka kris at FALCON.CC.UKANS.EDU
Wed Nov 27 11:47:16 CST 1996

At 08:26 AM 11/27/1996 -0700, Luis A. Ruedas wrote:

>I'm not sure that the PEET initiative has either helped or hindered
>systematics in general.  Seems more like a reward for past honorifics
>than a useful granting system.
>I don't mean to stoke any flames...
        I am surprised at your comments and afraid that your lack of
familiarity with the PEET program will stoke many flames; many of your
comments are both wrong and unfortunate, and certainly could have been
avoided with a bit of research, e.g., examination of the NSF web pages
dealing with the PEET program, funded projects and the PIs involved in each
project.  A few corrections for the record:

      1.   First off, the PEET initiative did not take funds from the
regular Systematic Biology Program at NSF; rather the PEET projects were a
special initiative funded by new monies.

        2.  Second, the PEET initiative did not fund "past honorifics" or
"people in the waning stages of their carreers who more than likely do not
need the money any more."  That kind of slur is both erroneous and out of
line, and I suggest that you owe the 21 PIs and their colleagues an apology.
I doubt, for example, that you would consider UNM PEET awardee Dr. Don
Duszynski a "past honorific".
        Rather, the PEET intitiative funded three coordinated efforts in
each project: (a) systematic monographic study of the poorest known
organisms, especially those for which there is vanishing taxonomic
expertise;  (b) training of new young investigators -- at least 2 graduate
students and/or postdocs -- in the systematics of that group in order to
stem the vanishing taxonomic expertise;  (c) electronic databasing and
dissemination of the systematic information in order to archive and continue
building the systematics knowledge of these groups.

        3.   Systematic Agenda 2000, both a "state-of-the-science" report
and an urgent call for action and funding for systematics, was an effort of
the entire systematic and collection-based community.  NSF answered that
call with the PEET initiative, which  addressed the three missions of
Systematic Agenda 2000.  The community as a whole has commended NSF's BIO
directorate and its Division of Environmental Biology for launching the PEET
initiative and encouraged them, if at all possible, to continue it --
because many more taxonomic groups than could be addressed in the first
round of PEET have vanishing taxonomic expertise, require basic systematic
study and databasing of the information, and are in desperate need of
attracting the next generation of systematists.

        I hope your future comments with regard to PEET will be more
informed and responsible.


Leonard Krishtalka
Director                                                phone:  913/864-4540
Natural History Museum and              fax:       913/864-5335
      Biodiversity Research Center
The University of Kansas                        e-mail:  krishtalka at
Lawrence, KS 66045

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