WASHINGTON—The administration has proposed that the National Institutes of Health fund 700 fewer new and competing research grants this year as part of a plan to reduce the overall NIH budget in fiscal 1988. But it is unlikely that researchers will feel the pinch anytime soon.

The proposal is part of a request to Congress to transfer $334 million already appropriated for this fiscal year. The present budget of $6.18 billion would drop by a corresponding amount, and the budget for next year would remain nearly constant, at $5.87 billion. The number of new and competing grants would drop from 6,354 to 5,654, and the total number of grants, including renewals, would fall from 19,811 to 19,111.

At the same time, the budget proposes $534 million for basic research, clinical and laboratory work and public education on AIDS. A 28 percent increase from the $416 million allocated this year, the...

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