News of the WeekBiomedical Research

Stimulus Funding Elicits a Tidal Wave of ‘Challenge Grants’

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Science  15 May 2009:
Vol. 324, Issue 5929, pp. 867
DOI: 10.1126/science.324_867a

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A frantic grant-writing effort that has consumed biomedical research scientists this spring came to an end last week, resulting in a huge pile of new applications—more than 10 times larger than expected—to be reviewed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). After this enthusiastic response, there will be many disappointed applicants: The rejection rate could run as high as 97%. The flurry of activity was sparked by the recent economic stimulus bill, which enabled NIH to expand ongoing grants and offer so-called Challenge Grants, described as an opportunity to jump-start research on certain topics.