Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A Broken Pipeline?

Gurgle, mutter
Hiss, stutter
Moan the words like water
Rush and foam and choke
Having waited
This long of a winter
I fear I only
Croak and sigh

-Suzanne Vega, Rusted Pipe
Flat Funding of the NIH Puts a Generation of Science at Risk

An unprecedented five consecutive years of stagnant funding for the National Institutes of Health is putting America at risk—slowing the pace of medical advances, risking the future health of Americans, discouraging our best and brightest researchers, and threatening America's global leadership in biomedical research. Unfortunately, President Bush's budget proposal recommends a sixth year of flat funding for the NIH in 2009.
And in the meantime, promising young researchers in the U.S. are dropping like flies...
Scientists are forced to spend less time doing research and more time writing and rewriting grants because fewer applications are funded on first submission (29% in 1999; 12% in 2007). Most successful grants now require two or three submissions to the NIH peer review process before being funded. This trend represents a clog in the system that is causing researchers to abandon promising work, downsize labs, and spend more time searching for other financial support.
Other blogs have discussed the broken pipeline, too. The entire report, compiled by a group of seven concerned academic research institutions, is available as a colorful PDF (6.60 MB).

Now the time has come to speak
I was not able
And water through a rusted pipe
Could make the sense that I do

-Suzanne Vega, Rusted Pipe

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