Alison McCook has a lengthy article now up on The Scientist website that illustrates how NIH grant funding shortfalls are coming home to roost, with soft money faculty first to be jettisoned.
In 2007, more than 4,000 NIH-funded researchers were denied grant renewals. For some, that means they have to close up shop.
The article itself is well-done, chronicling the experience of Alan Schneyer, a well-established and productive reproductive endocrinology researcher formerly at Massachusetts General Hospital, whose research program was shut down after three tries for a competing renewal of his NIH grant. However, I’ll be equally interested in following the comment thread, particularly for any responses to this anonymous poster’s queries:
If you lost your lab, please respond!
The article points out that 4000 R01s were not renewed in 2007.
How many scientists lost their labs?
If you did not lose your lab, what made a difference?
Do you still have a salary despite losing an R01?
What are your plans for continuing in basic research?
There is a dearth of information out there on how many scientists are now out of work. This is a chance to get some data on the effects of the flat NIH budget.
Other commenters have noted that one should not even think of pursuing soft money faculty positions during these times and cite universities as being partly to blame in expanding the pool of non-tenure track research professor slots over the last 10-15 years.
Not very encouraging news but I agree with the commenter that some follow-up efforts should be initiated to determine the impact of the current funding climate on the losses to the scientific enterprise.