While the across-the-board sequester cuts in the US are affecting all types of scientific research and research institutions, Dave Levitan argues in Scientific American that independent research institutions are particularly vulnerable to shrinking budgets.
He notes that some institutions are now entering into alliances with universities while others are closing their doors. The Marine Biological Laboratory in Massachusetts, is now affiliated with the University of Chicago and the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia is now part of Temple University. And the Boston Biomedical Research Institute has closed.
"It is a challenge to merge the independent research institute with a university system in a way that preserves a creative atmosphere," Greg Patterson, the VP for Research Operations at Texas Biomedical Research Institute and incoming president of AIRI, tells him.
Others, though, are remaining independent, and Levitan says that those that can typically have another revenue stream in addition to grants: the Jackson Laboratory in Maine sells mouse strains and New York's Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory has educational programs.
"But of course, not every institute will find a buyer or a rich university willing to take responsibility for their financial future, meaning the NIH's drop in funding has the potential to severely wound a significant sector of the U.S. research enterprise," Levitan adds.