Francis Collins, the new director of the National Institutes of Health, said today (17th August) that making sure the NIH's newly-invigorated budget does not "drop off a cliff" once $10 billion in stimulus funding expires at the end of 2010 will be his top priority as he takes the reins of the biomedical research agency. "FY '11 battles are going to be tough," Collins said. "This is the [issue] that wakes me up in the middle of the night." After being officially sworn in as the NIH's 16th director this morning, Collins formally took the helm of the NIH before an enthusiastic crowd of NIH staffers gathered in a large auditorium at the agency's Bethesda, Maryland headquarters. "It's great to be home again," Collins said as he took the stage at the all-hands meeting. Collins was introduced by Raynard Kington, who has served as acting NIH director since last October...

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