WASHINGTON--The 6 percent increase requested for the National Institutes of Health in 1992 would provide enough funds to support 632 more research grants but not enough, say science policy analysts, to put federally supported biomedical research on firm financial footing.

Given the sorry state of the economy and the huge federal deficit, scientists as well as members of Congress are praising the president's proposed $8.78 billion NIH budget as a step in the right direction. But agency officials say it's not large enough to allow them to fund at least 6,000 new grants each year, a goal that Congress has urged NIH to adopt and that many researchers feel is vital to the continued health of academic biomedical science (The Scientist, Sept. 3, 1990, page 1; and Jan. 7, 1991, page 6). During the past decade, NIH has stretched its research dollar by levying across-the-board cuts, called downward negotiations, on...

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