Ten billion dollars of stimulus money has begun coursing its way through the NIH to researchers. After years of bitter complaints about the federal government's reluctance to expand its R&D budget, the new billions are expected to swiftly add new projects and personnel in the research field.
In a practical sense, it means more money for researchers to hire new staff. Mohamed Kabbaj at Florida State University College of Medicine, for example, plans to hire for two positions after receiving $400,000 in stimulus money for a two-year study to examine the molecular mechanisms at work in stress-induced depression. He plans to hire a technician and a research associate.
Federal funding had dwindled to the point that only about one of every 12 grant requests had been funded. Now experts say that they hope the new administration will provide enough cash for more than one in four applications.
"Most people would agree that if the top 25 or 30 percent of meritorious grants were funded--that's probably a healthy place," Stephen Prescott, president of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, tells the Edmond Sun.