After a five-year effort to double the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget by awarding it annual increases in the 15% range, the agency is in line to grow by a mere 2% next year. For Fiscal Year 2004, which begins October 1, NIH's budget would increase by only $549 million to $27.9 billion, the Bush administration announced yesterday.

Members of the biomedical community are disappointed. "A 2% increase is pretty problematical," said Pete Farnham, public affairs director for the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB). "Several years of this and the effect of the doubling will be pretty much dissipated."

The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) has urged a 10% increase to ensure continuation of the progress made during the five-year doubling process. While appreciating the budget-doubling effort and acknowledging the economic and terrorism challenges facing the country, "we note with concern that the...

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