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Government Medicine Stats The Almighty Buck Science

Up To 1000 NIH Investigators Dropped Out Last Year 111

sciencehabit writes "New data show that after remaining more or less steady for a decade, the number of investigators with National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding dropped sharply last year by at least 500 researchers and as many as 1000. Although not a big surprise—it came the same year that NIH's budget took a 5% cut—the decline suggests that a long-anticipated contraction in the number of labs supported by NIH may have finally begun."
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Up To 1000 NIH Investigators Dropped Out Last Year

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  • Out of ~22,000 (Score:5, Informative)

    by PhrostyMcByte ( 589271 ) <phrosty@gmail.com> on Sunday March 09, 2014 @07:20PM (#46441945) Homepage
    Without something to anchor your 500-1000 number, who will know how outraged they need to be?
  • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Sunday March 09, 2014 @07:33PM (#46441999) Homepage Journal

    On which planet has the anti-tax movement won?

    That would be this one [wikimedia.org].

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 09, 2014 @08:03PM (#46442125)

    Actually, current approval rates for grants are around 10-15% and often grants that are funded are typically facing budget reductions at the time of approval, without any change in the scope or specific aims of the proposal. In many cases the cost of research is increasing but the funds available are not increasing at the same rate, thus few projects are being funded.

  • by docmordin ( 2654319 ) on Sunday March 09, 2014 @08:10PM (#46442149)

    As an actual researcher, let me state that your post has little to no bearing on reality. That is, open-access journals do not prevent an individual or group of individuals from artificially inflating various publication metrics. Moreover, agencies look at much more than those metrics, e.g., research output, research impact, past publication venues, and the number of students who are supported and are expected to graduate under a grant, when deciding how to dole out funding.

  • by realxmp ( 518717 ) on Sunday March 09, 2014 @09:04PM (#46442397)

    Without something to anchor your 500-1000 number, who will know how outraged they need to be?

    And without knowing what those investigators were doing neither number is particularly useful. That's 1000 investigators and their entire lab staff most of them being scientists doing useful research not administrators etc. Unfortunately this doesn't just affect the current generation of scientists, it affects the next generation too. Not all of these labs will close, but there will certainly be a lot less capacity to take students and post docs. How this will impact research is pretty hard to predict, unfortunately it looks a bit more like the blunderbuss approach than the precision cull of the herd with a rifle and scope.

  • by nbauman ( 624611 ) on Sunday March 09, 2014 @09:27PM (#46442493) Homepage Journal

    You and I must be reading different journals.

    Perspective: Asia's Ascent — Global Trends in Biomedical R&D Expenditures
    January 2, 2014
    N Engl J Med 2014; 370:3-6
    Owing to cuts mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011, the NIH budget for fiscal year 2013 was reduced by $1.7 billion, to $29.2 billion — a 5.5% reduction that continued a trend of declining federal funding for biomedical research that began in 2003.2
    Our analysis reveals that U.S. inflation-adjusted R&D expenditures and the U.S. share of global expenditures decreased from 2007 through 2012. The decline is remarkable because the United States has provided a majority of the funding for biomedical R&D globally for the past two decades — a share that some previous analyses suggested was as high as 70 to 80%.2 Moreover, the decline was driven almost entirely by reduced investment by industry, not the public sector, between 2007 and 2012. Sequestration of NIH funding in 2013 and beyond will exacerbate this reduction by causing U.S. public-sector expenditures to decline.
    Although our data set has its limitations, our findings reveal a decline in U.S. financial competitiveness in biomedical R&D and may have implications for the debate over appropriate federal policy in this area. The lack of a coordinated national biomedical R&D strategy is disappointing, at a time when mature economies such as those of Japan and Europe have maintained their level of investment in this area.

    http://jama.jamanetwork.com/ar... [jamanetwork.com]
    Funding of US biomedical research, 2003-2008.
    JAMA. 2010 Jan 13;303(2):137-43. doi: 10.1001/jama.2009.1987.
    Funding of US biomedical research, 2003-2008.
    CONCLUSION: After a decade of doubling, the rate of increase in biomedical research funding slowed from 2003 to 2007, and after adjustment for inflation, the absolute level of funding from the National Institutes of Health and industry appears to have decreased by 2% in 2008.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 09, 2014 @10:46PM (#46442793)

    I'm not a big Obama fan (I voted Green the past two elections), but claiming the Democrats have controlled spending for the past 6 years is absurd. The Republicans have controlled the house and the Democrats have done a poor job of negotiating with them (although I'll be willing to accept that the Democrat's goals might not actually differ from the Republicans' as much as they claim).

    On the minimum wage, some graphs of the historical value adjusted for inflation [dol.gov] show that $10.10 is in fact matching inflation. It just seems like a large jump because real wages have been decreasing for decades.

    I agree that Obama and the Democratic party have shown poor leadership and handling of the economic crisis, just nitpicking some details.

Houston, Tranquillity Base here. The Eagle has landed. -- Neil Armstrong