NIH officials are smiling broadly because of last month's report by the Institute of Medicine. The report prescribes higher salaries and greater administrative flexibility as cures for NIH's inability to attract and retain top-quality researchers. In addition, the report not only rejects an earlier executive branch suggestion that NIH's intramural program be privatized, but it also gives the program a badly needed pat on the back. "We're very pleased," says NIH director James Wyngaarden. "It's reassuring to us that they felt no radical changes were needed, and that they believe the quality of our work remains high." In fact, changes along the lines of those recommended by the report are already in the wind. One proposal--a $25 million discretionary fund for the director to finance staff travel and equipment needs without advance approval by HHS bureaucrats--is already part of Reagan's proposed budget for 1990. But all is not perfect: The...

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