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We've done very well, but it's not enough to compensate for the abrupt loss of the stimulus funding.

Trudeau announces layoffs

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Trudeau Institute in Saranac Lake is laying off scientists and support staff to help make up for a 25 percent drop in revenue for its research programs. Officials at the biomedical research center won't reveal how many of the Institute's roughly 130 employees will be losing or have already lost their jobs, although they say none of Trudeau's lead research teams will be affected. As Chris Knight reports, the Institute says it's been forced to cut its budget because federal stimulus money it received in 2009 has run out.

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Chris Knight
Adirondack Correspondent

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In a Tuesday morning interview, Trudeau President and Director David Woodland said the belt tightening at the Institute this year is part of the normal "ebb and flow" in Trudeau's grant funding cycle.

"The Institute constantly increases and decreases in size according to the amount of funding, and that's really all that's happening this year," he said.

"We're just coming off a high and coming into a little bit of a trough. The scientists are busy writing more grants, and we anticipate it will turn around in 2012."

Woodland admitted later, however, that the Institute's current budget situation - and the steps it is taking to cover its budget shortfall - have been more painful because of the loss of stimulus money.
In additon to cutting scientists and support staff, Trudeau is also reducing contributions to employee retirement plans and eliminating cost-of-living increases.

"The stimulus funding probably made the drop a little more precipitous than we might normally have experienced," Woodland said.

The Institute received more than $8 million in stimulus funding, which was used to continue research grants that would have ended in 2008 or 2009. Asked why the Institute didn't plan for the eventual loss of that money, Woodland said his faculty tried to.

"We knew we had a lot of funding that would end in 2011, so the scientists here went to considerable efforts to put in grants to get funding to replace that. We've done very well, but it's not enough to compensate for the abrupt loss of the stimulus funding,' he said. "It's probably going to take us another year to get back to where we were."

An e-mail sent to Trudeau employees Monday afternoon indicates that some Institute staff have already been laid off.
The message from Trudeau Facilities Director Bob Donohue outlines a long list of "service reductions" that he said will cause frustration and inconvenience. But those inconveniences, Donohue said, -quote- "pale in comparison to the inconveniences that those who have just been laid off now face."
Woodland outlined the budget cuts to Trudeau staff in a pair of meetings on Monday. Asked how the news was received , Woodland said there was "some concern."

"But I think the meetings went very well, and we have a superb staff here," he said. "They know what the challenges are, and as always, they will rise to those challenges. I have absolute faith in that."

The Institute's current budget situation comes on the heels of a January decision by Trudeau's board to keep the Institute where it was founded. The board had considered leaving Sarnaac Lake as part of a plan to put the Institute's scientsts closer to a clinical research setting near a hospital or university.
Woodland said today that there's no connection between the board's decision to stay in Saranac Lake and the Institute's 2011 budget situation. Trudeau is continuing its strategic planning, he said, and will be looking for ways to help its scientists secure more grants in the future.

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