NPR has done a lot of hard-hitting reporting on science and science funding this week. Yesterday CauseScience posted an NPR article about ‘US Science Suffering From Booms and Busts in Funding.’ Now there are two equally great reports from NPR about science and funding. The first examines the trend of scientists giving up or quitting science (When Scientists Give Up, from Richard Harris). The article tells the stories of two academic scientists that quit science due to the downward spiral of research funding, and the negative impact that has on the type of science that gets funded (Read: boring, safe science).
There are no national statistics about how many people are giving up on academic science, but an NPR analysis of NIH data found that 3,400 scientists lost their sustaining grants between 2012 and 2013. Some will eventually get new funding, others will retire; but others, like Glomski and Patterson, will just give up.
The second NPR reporting piece, also by Richard Harris, examines a recent problem faced by universities that built laboratory buildings to accommodate scientists while research funding was high. Now with NIH funding stagnant for a decade, and fewer scientists with adequate funding, many of these buildings are unneeded. Give the story a listen: Built in Better Times, University Labs Now Lack Research Funding.
When the National Institutes of Health budget doubled, some schools scrambled to build new laboratory buildings. But the funding has declined, leaving institutions struggling to pay for the buildings.
Great posting Richard!! It is great that someone is paying attention and getting this information out!