Warning: flat NIH budget threatens 'dead end'

A group of some of the most prestigious research groups in the country says that five years of flat budgets for the National Institutes of Health is threatening to deter an entire generation of young researchers. Scientists from UCLA, Harvard, Vanderbilt and four other research institutions say that the stagnant NIH budget is persuading young researchers to go into other careers or move to other countries which have proved more generous to biomedical research. To drive that point home, the report--"A Broken Pipeline"--profiles 12 young researchers engaged in groundbreaking work on stem cells, cancer and kidney disease and their difficulty finding new grants.

"This is a real problem, discussed at almost every meeting one attends on campus, that can't be simply dismissed," said Drew Faust, Ph.D., president of Harvard University. "This is about the investment that America is--or is not--making in the health of its citizens and its economy. Right now, the nation's brightest young researchers, upon whom the future of American medicine rests, are getting the message that biomedical research may be a dead end and they should explore other career options--and in too many cases, they're taking that message to heart. The president's latest budget proposal that calls for another year without an increase will only make the problem worse."

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