Field of Science

Stimulus money for NIH

$200,000,000!!! Isn't that awesome?

Well it is better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, but how good is it? First, the grants are for 2 years with a $1,000,000 maximum, so expect that the vast majority of submitted grants to be for $1,000,000. That would allow for the funding of 200 new grants, w00t!

But realize, there are 50 states in the union, so that works out to 4 grants/state. or
NIH has defined 15 challenge topics for the funding, so that works out to 13 grants/challenge area. or
NIH has defined 207 specific challenge topics for the funding, so that works out to <1 grant/specific challenge area!

Again that was < (LESS THAN) 1!

I would have preferred many fewer challenge areas, say 100 or less, and more resources devoted to developing these areas. Its better having 4 individual labs taking different approaches towards a problem, than 1. One concern is that only the biggest most popular labs will get the money, and not the best science.

I realize this money is not for science per say but for job creation. However, I am not sure how successful this use of funds will be in that regard. If I get a grant funded, I will hire someone, although most lab heads will likely be retaining people they would otherwise let go because of the difficulties in getting and maintaining long-term grant support. But in two years without a continuing influx a money, those people hired will all be fired. Maybe the point is a short-term solution with the hope of an improving economy that will solve the longer-term problems. However, two years is an extremely short period of time and I wonder how much real improvement we will see.

Ah well, better get writing...

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