In her article "NIH Must Meet the Hughes Challenge" (THE SCIENTIST, April 6, 1987, p. 13), Sandra Panem noted the recent Internal Revenue Service ruling that will permit the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) to extend funding to an increased number of scientists. Panem expressed fear that the cream of researchers might join Hughes, be tapped to advise Hughes grant-makers, and lose their loyalty to NIH, thus affecting adversely the quality of NIH pro-grams. The challenge to NIH, in her view, arises because "Hughes provides generous funding and requires minimal paperwork, thus freeing a scientist for research."

The NIH has been privileged td receive strong and sustained public support for its programs. We have long considered our-selves challenged to get the most high-quality research for every dollar NIH invests and to keep to a minimum the paperwork required of the researchers it supports. We have been acutely aware of the...

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