NIH Funding and Biomedical Research

Good morning all

There is a great story on NPR this morning about the impact on research of reductions in NIH funding.

The story this morning by Richard Harris and Robert Benincasa details the boom and bust environment created by major changes to NIH funding.

Amongst other things the story notes that the NIH funding in the past has driven the development of innovation in biomedical research and the current cuts have meant that labs – and the potential developments associated with those labs – are both closing and all of the hard won knowledge is being lost.

Adding salt to the wounds of lost funding, the article also refers to those scientists who are still working in the field only doing so because of the inordinate amount of time that key researchers are spending on fundraising.

I love fundraising – but I am also not a brilliant scientist. Taking such people away from their core work is such a crying shame for the entire field.

NWABR lost its own NIH funding in 2013 with the commensurate loss of amazing staff and institutional knowledge. The rebuilding process is hard and after over a year we are starting to regain some of the traction that was lost. The NPR story shows that this is an all too familiar story across the United States. The organizational, human, research and community costs of these losses is incalculable.

I am going to enjoy this series of stories as the roll out over the next week.

Update 9/10/14. Part two of the series rolled out today. This part focusses on scientists being lost to the industry and the world of science because of the funding crunch. Here it here.

Take care.

Ken Gordon
Executive Director
Northwest Association of Biomedical Research