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Budget troubles force Nobel Prizes to be cut back 20%

June 11, 2012 | 10:02 pm

HeikenstenEven the Nobel Prize awards can't escape some belt tightening: The foundation behind the awards announced Monday that prize money for  winners would be slashed by 20%, to about $1.1 million each.

Paring back the prize money will help “safeguard the economic base of the Nobel Prize,” the Nobel Foundation, based in Stockholm, said. The foundation has been pinched in recent years as income on its investments failed to keep pace with its spending.

“The capital left behind by Alfred Nobel must therefore be managed in such a way that it will be possible to award the Nobel Prize in perpetuity, while guaranteeing the independence of the prize-awarding institutions,” the foundation said.

The Nobel Foundation also plans to reexamine its administrative costs and spending on “Nobel festivities,” such as the annual Nobel banquet.

The last time the Nobel Foundation reduced its prize money was in 1949. The group steadily increased the amount until 2001 and has left the prize at 10 million Swedish kronor ($1.4 million) until now.

Though the foundation was loath to cut the prize money, its chief said it wouldn't ultimately dim the Nobel glow.

"I'm certain that the winners will be very, very happy regardless," Executive Director Lars Heikensten told Agence France-Presse.

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-- Emily Alpert in Los Angeles

Photo: Lars Heikensten, executive director of the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm, Sweden. Credit: Claudio Bresciani / European Pressphoto Agency

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