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NIH director warns that US research funding is falling behind, calls for new focus on innovation
Date:11/27/2013

pointing out that the cuts to research budgets, particularly at NIH, were "shortsighted."

Collins, one of the leaders in the effort that led to the mapping of the human genome, used genomic research as an example. He said the project may have produced 400,000 jobs directly and 7 million indirectly, and generated $965 billion in economic growth.

Starting in 2012, funding for biomedical research has declined 20 percent even before sequestration. But in the years early in the decade, when funding doubled, facilities were built around the country and an increasing number of young scientists were trained, he said.

The result now is that more scientists and labs are asking for grants at the same time the funding for grants has declined. Once, Collins said, NIH could grant 25-35 percent of projects. Now it is down to 15 percent. Only one out of seven grants now is funded.

"You could say we are still the largest supporter of science in the world, and you would be right--but only barely," he said.

University of Maryland School of Medicine Dean E. Albert Reece, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., said one of the purposes of the meeting and the new program was to make sure what money came in was spent in the best way.

"The purpose of Accel-Med is to increase the pace and scope of clinical and basic science research that will impact and improve human health and well-being."

"Advances do not come by accident or from serendipity," he said. What he hoped it would lead to was innovation and discovery.

"We have asked some of the best minds in the world to help us direct our endeavor, to tell us what we should be thinking about."

The presentations included:

  • Institute for Genomic Sciences--Projects included the use of genomic sequencing of the microbiome, the complex community of organisms that live in association with humans; the microbiomes in the vagina, and tracking diseases in human populations through history via
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Contact: Christopher Hardwick
chardwick@som.umaryland.edu
University of Maryland School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert  

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