Every year the research office at my university distributes a summary and breakdown of the funding across the university over the last 5 years (FY09-FY13 in this case). There's numerous tables and graphs that allow people to take a bird's eye view or drill down to departments. I don't know if many people read it, but I find it fascinating. It's not just the perspective of how your college/department is doing in relation to others, but the time component is pretty meaty. I was able to dig into my email archives and find last year's report, giving me 2008 numbers as well.
I mentioned a few stats on twitter yesterday, but the report lays out plainly how devastating the current funding climate has been to science. I would love to see a ten year spread and look at the pre-2008 numbers, before the economy really shit the bed. Also 2009+2010 are a bit of an aberration because of the Stimulus Money (ARA) that got injected into granting agencies, which caused both # of applications and money received to go way up.
First, the good news:
From 2008 to 2010, award money nearly double at my university. In 2011 & 2012 those numbers dropped down a bit, but settled roughly 10% below the 2010 peak. 2012 was the university's strongest year in terms of the number of awards received, even if the total dollar amount was not the highest in this span.
From 2008-12, my college nearly tripled its "value of awards received" and my department has increased its take 400% between 2008 and 2013. In terms of award money, the department has gone from the bottom half of departments in the college to $10K out of first place. This change has been driven both by the success of newer investigators AND some more senior colleagues increasing their proposal effort.
Now the bad news:
As a whole, the university took it in the teeth in FY2013. Whereas my department has continued to surge, numbers at the university and college levels are ugly. Even though numbers for the month of June were not included in the analysis (the fiscal runs July-June), the university and college numbers have dropped below 2008 levels! Zoinks Scoob, like, run. University-wide FY13 brought in 11% less money than 2008 and my college took in 7% less. Meanwhile, expenditures are up 14% and 10% at the university and college, respectively. Of course, with our overhead rate ever increasing, F&A money received has not been hit nearly as hard as general funding levels. Imagine that.
Strangely, and likely correlated to fewer awards, the drop goes for proposals submitted, as well. Why there is a sharp decline in submitted proposals across the university this year is a mystery to me, but after a peak in FY2009 proposal numbers have declined every year and are now 15% BELOW 2008 levels. I don't know if the combination of the NSF Bio preproposals, implosion of USDA and elimination of the NIH A2 are slowly whittling away at proposal numbers, but I can't imagine that any of those factors would be enough to slow the tap as much as the numbers show. Maybe others have some thoughts.
In any case, it will be interesting to see if FY13 turns out to be an oddball or the start of an ugly trend. I don't anticipate a major budget shortfall, given the F&A money has not declined as substantially as the research money, but I do know that the university has committed to no increase in tuition for next year. Hopefully the rainy day fund isn't fully depleted and things pick back up in FY14.