A decade of neglecting the National Institutes of Health budget has left a sector of science scrabbling to survive
I am a mass murderer of squid. I have cut off more Loligo pealei heads than you, and watched those heads writhe around in a bucket for a good three or four minutes post-decapitation—all in the name of federally funded science.
My squid-murdering days were back in the late 1990s, as a teenager in Woods Hole, Mass. I worked for a couple of summers at the Marine Biological Laboratory, an internationally renowned independent research institute famous for its basic science work; in particular on marine modelanimals like squid (which have a couple of easy-to-study giant nerve cells that I dissected out hundreds of times), lobsters, sharks and many others. In certain ways it represented a unique experience: The MBL is on a relatively short list of independent research institutions around the country that are discovery- and application-oriented counterparts to the university-based research enterprise.
And that laboratory is now the latest to feel a government-induced financial crunch that has made the MBL not so independent anymore. In June, the MBL voted to form an affiliation with the deep-pocketed University of Chicago; the MBL will remain a non-profit institution, but now has a stern “parent” paying out at least some of its allowance.
NIH funding going south
The MBL’s move and other independent institutes’ latest struggles can be accredited to a single acronym: NIH. After a massive decade-long expansion of funding for the National Institutes of Health (from $10 billion in 1993 to $28 billion in 2004), in the past nearly 10 years the budget for the country’s primary scientific funding arm stagnated and even declined some years (in 2013 the budget is $29.15 billion, down five percent from 2012, and well below the 2004 budget in today’s dollars). A science-unfriendly president (President George W. Bush) and Congress seemed unconcerned as the agency’s budget failed to keep up with inflation. Acceptance rates for grant applications have dropped precipitously as a result. More acutely, this year’s federal budget sequestration is cutting more than $1.5 billion and 700 research grants from NIH. At latest count, the acceptance rate for the standard grants known as R01s was14.9 percent, meaning more than 8 out of 10 applications go unfunded: there were more than 24,000 submitted in 2012.
“It’s going to slow down the pace of research,” says Larry Keinath, the current president of the Association of Independent Research Institutes and VP for finance and administration at the independent Wistar Institute in Philadelphia. AIRI represents the 80 or so independent research institutes around the country. “There are so many discoveries that we’re just on the verge of making…To pull back resources now is just a terrible time to be doing it.”
The Latest on: Independent Research
- 'Help create new cures' - Inspirational author Emma Hannigan calls for donations to cancer research on February 19, 2018 at 8:42 am
Following the devastating news, the inspirational mother-of-two thanked her fans for their kind messages and asked them to donate to the cancer research organisation ... over direct rule for Northern Ireland Independent.ie Newsdesk Sinn Fein has warned ... […]
- Independent survey to assess impact of sleep-in pay crisis on future of social care on February 19, 2018 at 12:30 am
New independent research launched today will assess how the nation’s care and support sector is affected by an estimated £400m bill for sleep-in shifts back pay. Care providers are being urged to participate in the national survey commissioned by the ... […]
- Senators want to bolster research of organic agriculture on February 17, 2018 at 10:40 am
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A pair of U.S. senators is introducing legislation designed to improve organic farming research. Democratic Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine say their legislation would reauthorize and ... […]
- Independent Research Firm Recognizes Rsam as a ‘Leader’ in Governance, Risk & Compliance on February 16, 2018 at 3:47 pm
SECAUCUS, N.J., Feb. 16, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Rsam, a leading provider of GRC solutions, today announced that the company has been recognized by Forrester Research Inc. as a Leader in The Forrester Wave™: Governance, Risk, and Compliance Platforms ... […]
- Nasdaq Cited as a Leader in Governance, Risk, and Compliance Platforms by Independent Research Firm on February 16, 2018 at 4:59 am
NEW YORK, Feb. 16, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Nasdaq (NDAQ) was among the select companies that Forrester invited to participate in its 2018 Forrester Wave(TM) evaluation, Governance, Risk, And Compliance (GRC) Platforms, Q1 2018. In this evaluation, Nasdaq ... […]
- Home ownership among young people 'collapsed', IFS research reveals on February 16, 2018 at 3:10 am
The independent think tank looked at young adults in the middle ... five years earlier and 43 per cent of those born in the late 1970s. Andrew Hood, senior research economist at the IFS, said: “Home ownership among young adults has collapsed over the ... […]
- LexisNexis Risk Solutions included in third-party risk intelligence solutions report by independent research firm on February 14, 2018 at 9:36 am
Charles Thomas, director of anti-bribery and corruption, LexisNexis Risk Solutions, said: "Differentiating LexisNexis Risk Solutions from the pack is our risk-science equation that is composed of robust data, big data and linking technology, advanced ... […]
- Research Fellow Robert Whaples, Editor of Pope Francis and the Caring Society, on The John Batchelor Radio Show on February 13, 2018 at 11:32 am
Research Fellow Robert Whaples, editor of Pope Francis and the Caring Society is interviewed by John Batchelor and his co-host Larry Kudlow. They discuss how economic data shows capitalism and free trade have lowered poverty in many countries, but still ... […]
via Google News and Bing News