WASHINGTON—Congress wants to cap the salaries that biomedical scientists receive for their work on federal research grants. Although the proposed limit .may not actually shrink the paychecks of individual scientists and will save the National Institutes of Health only about $10 million annually, it represents the latest move in a campaign to force universities to pick up a greater share of the cost of their research faculty. Asking universities to take on that burden, according to federal officials, is one way to stretch research dollars during a time of tightening budgets.

The salary cap, part of legislation that sets the budget for the govemment’s education and health agencies, would prevent NIH from paying an investigator more than $120,000 annually in a grant or contract. However, because most scientists allocate only a portion of their time to a particular grant, that limit would be applied as a prorated share of their...

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