Nonprofit Newswire | Research at Risk as Stimulus Money Fades

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October 5, 2010; Source: Bethany Beach Wave | The flow of stimulus funding to nonprofits is going to slow and come to a halt relatively soon, leaving nonprofits on a financial precipice. We are used to writing about human service providers, homeless shelters, weatherization groups, nonprofit housing counseling agencies, and others that will have to scramble to maintain the staff and program capacity when the stimulus money goes, but what about nonprofits that do important scientific or public policy research?

According to this piece, scientists at the University of Delaware are among many across the nation who may have to abandon research projects prematurely. The University of Delaware has $64.1 million in projects funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, including $17 million through the National institutes of Health. NIH had $10 billion from ARRA in addition to its $31 billion annual budget, but there is no money in the budget to replace the stimulus funds this year or even guarantee the NIH appropriation.

There is a trade and advocacy association for the research sector, called “Research! America,” (exclamation point theirs) which declared the post-stimulus NIH funding predicament “very unfortunate.” R!A’s vice president for science policy and outreach called the NIH-funded research, “the lifeblood of our economy and our economic future, and we are not investing in the way we should be in order to stimulate that kind of innovation.”

Don’t think that the loss of ARRA-funded research doesn’t come without job losses. The young university-based scientists, doctoral and post doc students working on these projects will find themselves looking for work when the money runs out. Increasingly, we find that the stimulus might have been the level of investment these nonprofit programs needed—and hadn’t received—prior to the ARRA legislation. The end of the recession doesn’t mean that nonprofit service providers or nonprofit research centers don’t need continued or even expanded support.—Rick Cohen