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Strapped for Cash

Scientists—whether they’re new or experienced, engaged in mainstream or unconventional research—all face stiff competition in getting NIH funding.

By Jessica Leber // infographic by Flying Chilli // Spring 2009
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Since 2003 the National Institutes of Health’s budget has plateaued, even as the number of grant applications has reached record highs. No one has been harder-hit than young researchers competing for their first grant. High-risk research has also suffered as review panels have become more conservative. Despite the introduction of programs to address these problems, the NIH has been unable to keep up, a fact reflected in the dismal success rate: Only about 20% of applicants get grants. Though some relief is on the way—the economic stimulus bill contains a whopping $10.4 billion for the NIH—that money must be spent within two years, and there are no long-term plans for a budget increase. A continued funding roller coaster could make or break three hypothetical researchers.

research funding

research funding

research funding
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