Clearly established research goals, awards of shorter duration, and vigilance over costs will do the trick, says the agency,s director
BETHESDA, Md.--National Institutes of Health director Bernadine Healy hopes to increase by almost 50 percent the total number of grants the agency awards over the next several years. To do it, she says, NIH must trim budget requests by principal investigators and tighten up on indirect costs paid to institutions, manipulate the length of its grants awarded to avoid budgetary crunches, and be more generous with funding of applications ranked most highly by peer-review panels.

If successful, the plan over time could have a major impact on the way that scientists obtain their funding from the agency.

This year NIH will fund more than 21,000 research project grants, a number that has grown very slowly over the past several years. Healy, who became director in April, wants that number to...

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