Thursday, November 8, 2012

Yet more tyranny of the negative slope

Go over to See Arr Oh's place today, and check out his tabulation of the number of Division of Organic Chemistry fellowships, and how they rose and fell over the years. It's a pretty sobering graph he has there.

One thing that I thought I would point out (in repetition of See Arr Oh) is how M&A activity has affected academic organic chemistry in a mundane but still quite profound manner. (See right). I've stricken the names of companies that have been bought out or otherwise closed -- it's quite the remarkable list, on the 1997 side.

While we can argue about the benefits of M&A activity for society at large (future CJ and his Roth IRA may be benefiting), it is abundantly clear to me that the track record of M&A for the bench-level chemist is no good at all.

[Does anyone have the back story to what happened to the DOC fellowships? (Apart from the obvious, that is the funding companies went away.) What's the benefit of funding one of these? Just goodwill in the community and prestige?]

1 comment:

  1. I remember having a conversation with my former PhD advisor (top organic department, state school) and he told me that they were hurting since 7 department student fellowships had been pared down to 3 due to the M&A. He told me that was a common theme among the top programs. It is a seemingly obvious corollary to the DivOrgChem, but I haven't seen it discussed elsewhere. This loss of dedicated support at individual schools shows the larger (if non-reported) impact of M&A on research at academic institutions.

    ReplyDelete