Upon the request of Congress, a US National Academy of Sciences panel is drafting a plan to help state universities deal with continuing budget cuts. Scheduled for final release by the end of the year, the plan is expected to call for significant “belt-tightening,” Nature reports, and is not likely to spare researchers and laboratories. One suggestion might be for researchers to share equipment and facilities, for example, between labs and even nearby universities, panel members told Nature. Another might address the regulations for research grant applications, such as nixing the “effort-reporting” rules, which require researchers to detail time spent on different projects, and/or asking that funding agencies cover all indirect, or overhead, costs of research like administration fees and building maintenance.

These changes are not without consequences, however. Drawing on funding agencies to cover overhead costs, for example, could squeeze the research budget even...

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