Daily Archives: April 7, 2008

Laboratory Costs (are we getting screwed?)

NIH funding is tight and has been for the past couple of years. By all accounts the situation continues to get worse. All around me there are people forced to make tough decisions about cutting costs as their grants expire and don’t get renewed or they go through submission after submission trying to get funding. Cost cutting decisions often come in two flavors, lay off workers or cut back substantially on purchases. Laying off employees is tough on everyone. Often times the people that have to be let go are well-trained producers for the lab that have years of valuable experience. Once they are let go, chances are they won’t be coming back to the lab once the funding comes back up. Cutting back on consumables and/or equipment buys is also a hard decision to make. This often means not being able to do experiments that are important for the lab and the end result can be a decrease in competitiveness for funding. This brings me to my question — are lab consumables and equipment priced appropriately? Do these prices bear any resemblance to free market economic principles? Continue reading