WIKIMEDIA COMMONS, LUCAS
The money pumped into the National Institutes of Health in 2009 by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)—more than $8 billion over 2 years—helped create thousands of jobs as the agency funded new and expanded grant programs, according to a government report released last month.
The Government Accounting Office (GAO), at the behest of Republican members of the House of Representatives, found that ARRA funding has created about one full-time equivalent position for each of the 21,500 grants NIH awarded since the bill's enactment. Though the total number of jobs is tricky to pin down because the positions are reported quarterly, the NIH told GAO officials that the controversial stimulus dollars could end up creating and supporting 54,000 jobs.
While scientists occupied about 58 percent of the ARRA-funded jobs, according to the GAO report, information technologists, postdocs, and other support staff filled remaining positions.
Though the numbers are encouraging, less clear is what will happen when ARRA money dries up sometime next year. The GAO report was mum on this point.