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June 17, 2014
Scripps Merging With USC?
This news broke last night: that USC might be acquiring Scripps. It all looks to come down to tight federal money: that's where most of the funding comes from, and institutions that rely on grants (and overhead from grants) to survive are having to cut back. (There were, for example, a number of layoffs earlier this year at the Broad Institute in Cambridge, for just that reason).
As you can see from that story, I was called last night for comment about this, and I have to say, I was very surprised (although maybe not as surprised as the reporter was when I started quoting Tennyson). The loss of several big names over the last few years has made it clear that there were some difficulties inside Scripps, which made quite a contrast to the era when they burst on the organic chemistry scene by making huge offers to a number of star professors. But I couldn't think of another example where one department more or less takes over another one, and I especially couldn't think of anything happening at this level.
It doesn't look like a done deal yet, and even if it does go forward, how things will work is unclear. (It's also unclear what this means for the Scripps branch in Florida). More on this as it develops.
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