Dr. Joe Alvin wrote in to let us know about an interesting blog post on the finances of science by Dr. Michael Johnson, from the Department of Immunobiology at the University of Arizona.
The article lays out how the proceeds from a NIH grant are spent running a lab. The grant discussed worth ~2 million dollars over five years, gets a quarter taken out of it for university “indirects”, leaving the lab with 250,000 per year. It goes into a great breakdown of how paying lab staff burns up most of that money. Perhaps the most interesting portion is the discovery that before even considering purchasing reagents for research a small lab might easily blow through the yearly stipend of such a grant.
It’s an interesting read for those interested in the business side of lab management, and has a short but beautiful take on what a grant represents.