A NEW REPORT from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) makes it clear that broader public understanding of the way the National Institutes of Health (NIH) allocates its research funds is badly needed. Failure to understand the way the institutes decide how and where to spend their money has exacerbated debate about the influence disease-specific interest groups wield over the funding process.
The report, Scientific Opportunities and Public Needs: Improving Priority Setting and Public Input at NIH, says that to resolve the issue and allow broader participation in funding decisions, the individual institutes and the NIH director should set up offices specifically to solicit the views of the public on funding biomedical research.
Marwick C. Public Understanding of NIH Funding Sought. JAMA. 1998;280(7):592-593. doi:10.1001/jama.280.7.592-JMN0819-4-1