Letter: NIH Research Grants

The article "NIH Institute's Plan Will Favor Researchers Dependent On Single Grants" (The Scientist, April 16, 1990, page 1), conveys the impression that the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) has introduced a fiendish new policy favoring "smaller laboratories," at the expense of investigators with more than $500,000 in grants. A few paragraphs into the story, it becomes clear that the policy described is not really new; some similar discretionary practices have been exercis

Walter Schlesinger
Jun 10, 1990

The article "NIH Institute's Plan Will Favor Researchers Dependent On Single Grants" (The Scientist, April 16, 1990, page 1), conveys the impression that the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) has introduced a fiendish new policy favoring "smaller laboratories," at the expense of investigators with more than $500,000 in grants. A few paragraphs into the story, it becomes clear that the policy described is not really new; some similar discretionary practices have been exercised informally by most, if not all, categorical NIH Institutes for many years.

As one who is fortunate to have enjoyed NIH research grant support since 1949, and who has served on peer review, advisory, and task force committees for an aggregate of 25 years or so, I feel qualified to view the issues raised with some informed perspective that I find missing in the article.

It is misleading to suggest that "the policy...

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