Future winners may have to do with less
By Michael Banks
You could say physicists have much to be gloomy about these days with the Science and Technology Facilities Council in the UK cutting funding for projects to patch up its budget and scientists in Japan bracing themselves for deep cuts to the country’s science budget next year.
And now future winners of the Nobel prizes could end up feeling short changed if the Nobel Foundation, which manages the finances of the prizes, cuts the amount of money it dishes out every year.
The Foundation announced at the weekend that it might cut the $1.5m it hands out for each of the six prizes awarded each year. The reason, it says, is the credit crunch and the impending recession, which has led to losses in the foundation’s assets.
Indeed, when the credit crunch struck in 2008 the foundation’s assets lost nearly one-fifth and since then has only slightly recovered. “We have sailed the storm, but have taken on some water,” said Michael Sohlman, executive director of the Nobel Foundation, at a press conference.
So as this year’s Nobel prize winners — including US president Barack Obama who won the Nobel Peace Prize — attend the awards ceremony in Stockholm on Thursday, future winners may have to do with less.