Wisconsin geneticist Oliver Nelson: "Stick with the real problems. Stay flexible and learn new techniques."
Scan the lists of grants awarded by the National Institutes of Health or the National Science Foundation and you'll find that there are several hundred scientists who seem to have the knack of finding a funding source and keeping it -- not for the one or two renewals that most scientists consider the answer to a prayer, but for two or three decades. How do they manage this?

Scientists whose research has earned them decades-long stretches of government funding deny that there is anything special about their work -- and some funding agency officials agree.

"I'm not sure there's a formula except doing good science," says Anne Dieffenbach of the Office of Research Reports at NIH's National Institute of General Medical Sciences.

Nonetheless, says Bruce Umminger, division director of the NSF division of integrative biology...

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