By 1987, the elite group of 10 institutions was still getting its outsized share—19% of the extramural awards—but the dollar amount had more than doubled to $996 million.
Membership in the top of 10 has not shifted significantly during the past decade. Of those institutions at the top in 1978, only one had dropped out by 1987.
Moving down the list of NIH recipents for 1987, the top 100 institutions as a whole received a little more than three-quarters of the whole budget. That left only a quarter to be divided among the remaining 1,436 institutions.
This concentration of funds is appropriate, according to John Lein, vice president for health sciences at the University of Washington. He argues that for the United States to compete internationally with only modest money for science, it’s best to give those funds to institutions with the best chance of making a difference....