Happy Sunday again, everyone! This week, I chose to highlight an aspect of the scientific funding crisis about which people outside of the intimate scientific community may not be aware. Not only is the lack of government funding affecting individual researchers at academic institutions: it is also directly affecting the ability of private research centers to keep their doors open*.
Scripps Research Institute, located in California, is a non-profit research institute that relies mainly on NIH grant money to fund itself. Competition for NIH grant support is extremely high right now, making it difficult to rely on, and Scripps is estimating a budget deficit of $21-million for this year. Consequently, Scripps has been looking for a new source of funding to fill that hole. They had been in talks with the University of Southern California (USC)- but talks fell through earlier in the month after faculty at Scripps rejected the partnership and this week, the CEO of Scripps resigned as a result of the conflict. So Scripps is now back in the position of needing additional, outside funding in order to stay afloat.
A whole research institute in crisis because of the NIH funding climate.
Scripps has a reputation for being a prolific research center, and I (and I’m sure, the rest of the scientific community) am interested to see how they handle their financial crisis in the midst of the government funding crisis and in the wake of the fall-through from their partnership with USC.
*Article from Chemical & Engineering News, 7.11.14.