The system of federal support for biomedical research is ailing, according to National Institutes of Health director Bernadine Healy. In an interview published in Science (257:312, 1992), she stated that "with the average success rate on applications, now hovering around 25 percent, numerous meritorious research projects are not receiving NIH support....

"Perhaps the most serious long-term problem for biomedical research," she went on, "is that the young seem to be shying away. Fewer scientists under the age of 40 are applying for NIH grants and the group under 45 is a fast-shrinking component of our total talent base. In immediate terms, talented postdocs are becoming harder to find, and young people trained in research are turning to other careers."

Apparently, becoming an independent investigator by virtue of current NIH funding practices has become too difficult and chancy for younger people. Some might contend that the problem lies in the nature...

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