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Medical News & Perspectives
August 8, 2007

In Era of Tight Funds, NIH Seeks to Nurture New Scientists and Novel Ideas

JAMA. 2007;298(6):615-616. doi:10.1001/jama.298.6.615

For most medical researchers, the quest for funding consumes exorbitant amounts of time. And this pursuit is becoming more arduous as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the major funding institution for medical research, remains hampered in an era of federal budget constraints.

Although the NIH budget doubled to $27.2 billion between fiscal years 1998 and 2003, funding since then has remained relatively flat. With a stagnant budget, estimated to be $29.2 billion for fiscal year 2007, the NIH, which historically funded 30% of applications, now funds only 20%. For first-time submissions, the acceptance rate is only 10%. Such low rates have raised concerns about nurturing new researchers and novel ideas.