A flood of applications for small amounts of money reflects the problem of financing needed repairs to academic laboratories
WASHINGTON -- New programs at the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation offer overwhelming evidence that the demand for federal funds to replace crumbling academic research facilities is substantial.

Defying odds that would scare off any self-respecting bettor, university administrators are expected to shower NIH with more than 100 requests for a mere $2.8 million in funds to be awarded this year to build or renovate biomedical research facilities in the fields of cancer; heart, lung, and blood; and vision research. Applications are due May 7, with awards to be made by September 30.

At the same time, NSF has begun to sort through 425 applications for its own facilities-modernization program, also created last fall by Congress. NSF hopes to make available some $40 million, a figure that...

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