For countless scientists, it's a vicious cycle. They need funds to turn their exploratory research into more viable projects, yet the National Institutes of Health tends to reject grant applications for investigations that are still in the early stages. So what's a researcher to do? The answer may be to turn away from the large, national agencies and toward small, local ones, a prime example of which is the Bryn Mawr, Pa.-based W.W. Smith Charitable Trust.

George Preti, organic chemist and senior researcher at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, was faced with this problem in 1987, when NIH declined to fund his search for a new technique for the early detection of cancer. Like many scientists seeking support in the early stages of research, he did not have sufficient data to qualify for an NIH grant. To get the money to broaden his studies and generate the kind...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?