Readers of this blog are familiar with the financial pressures that the undoubling of the NIH budget during the Bush Administration placed on the research laboratories. They will also be familiar with the relative excitement which attended the ARRA stimulus package and the subsequent NIH announcements on various ways to put that money into the labs.
I don’t believe we’ve talked much about the companies, large and small, that support our science. The manufacturers and suppliers of equipment, reagents, software and other necessary resources. These companies might be diversified, they sell to the for-profit side of science as well, but they’ve been suffering too. After all, when NIH funds are hard to get, PIs were hoarding cash and not buying unnecessary stuff. Shutting down research programs. Waiting. I reckon that everything from Big Pharma to tiny biotech startup pulled back and tightened belts too.
Well, right about the time of the signing of the stimulus package, I started getting emails from various suppliers. They were here to help me apply for ARRA funds! I didn’t read the emails all that closely but some of them seemed to be practically offering to write the equipment supplement grant for me!
Today’s emailbox reveals that things are getting a bit…ugly.

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