Scientific and medical progress in the United States is being threatened by stagnated funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), says a report released Monday by nine leading American universities.
A lack of adequate funding has halted promising research and threatens the future of young scientists trying to establish careers in academic research. If the problem is not resolved, the United States could fall behind a number of countries in terms of biomedical research, the report warned.
"When scientists have to spend most of their time trying to get funded, caution wins out over cutting-edge ideas, creativity sacrifices to convention, and scientific progress gives way to meetings and grant applications," contributing author Dr Robert Siliciano, an infectious disease expert at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said in a prepared statement.
"Right now, very, very productive scientists are doing too little research. Instead, they are spending their time trying to get their labs funded again," Siliciano said.
The NIH budget has been virtually frozen since 2003 and has actually shrunk between 8 and 13 percent after inflation is factored in, the report said. Certain NIH institutes, such as the National Cancer Institute, can fund only 11 percent of research project grant applications. Many of the rejected applications are of exceptional quality, the report said.
Due to the funding problems, a number of scientists are leaving the United States for countries in Europe and Asia that are investing in biomedical science research, according to the report. – (HealthDayNews)