Restructuring in the biotechnology industry has eliminated bench research positions as the economy tests companies whose leaders still boast of their dedication to basic science. "The majority of these job reductions were concentrated in the discovery research area and primarily in biology sciences," reads a typical layoff announcement, this one issued by OSI Pharmaceuticals of Melville, NY, in the autumn of 2002.

OSI joins dozens of companies in deeming basic research an unaffordable luxury during tough times. Announcements that scientists will pay for business failures are issued with alarming frequency from companies whose public relations materials maintain that devotion to research remains undiminished. "This is something I have never said in 21 years of recruiting scientists," says Al DiPaulo, a recruiter with Searchforce in Clearwater, Fla., "R&D is not in the forefront, even with companies that were true believers that, if you're not building research staff today, you're cutting...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?