ZERHOUNI FOR A DAY: A CHALLENGE
The Problem: The NIH’s budget doubled over the past few years, and the NSF is currently working on a budget doubling of its own. Despite this vast influx of new federal funding, approval rates for grant proposals at the NIH have plummeted, and similar things are happening at NSF.
Nobel laureate Robert Weinberg: “The funding policies of the NIH have made it increasingly difficult for young researchers to procure research funds. This threatens to drive a whole generation of young people away from careers in basic biomedical research.” (Cell)
Nobel laureate Sir Paul Nurse: “Present policies are set to damage a whole generation of young research workers, and the negative impact on recruitment of the next generation of research scientists will be seen for years to come.” (Cell)
The Challenge: If you were in charge, what would you do differently?
You need not limit your answer to changes that NIH/NSF can make. Universities and professional societies can play important roles as well. If your answer is, “It depends”, what kinds of additional things would you need to know?
The Rules: Keep your ideas realistic. If they involve money, where it will come from? Who stands to lose from any changes you propose, and what arguments might they wield against your ideas?
Why This Matters: If you are a young scientist, the current problems at NIH/NSF could have a big impact on your career. This is your opportunity to contribute creative solutions. We’ll be discussing people’s ideas plus a few of our own here.
I will be visiting the National Bureau of Economic Research this spring and am planning to run a seminar on these funding issues at NBER in early March. I will make sure the best ideas people come up with get discussed.
We look forward to hearing your ideas!