"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."

--Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)

This applies equally to women and men. On April 2, 18 basic science grants from the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) were "defunded."1 Months previously, the successful applicants were informed by telephone that funding had been approved (the peer review process took place in November 2002), and they had budgeted on that basis. But on the day after the grants were slated to begin (April 1), the VA sent faxes stating that funds would not, after all, be forthcoming.

What happened? At the center of the controversy is Nelda Wray, the VA's recently appointed Chief of Research and Development, and commander of a $400 million (US) budget. Wray, an expert in outcomes research, has set a vague goal of shifting the emphasis from laboratory-based studies to research...

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