News of the WeekNational Institutes of Health

Grants 'Below Payline' Rise to Help New Investigators

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Science  25 Sep 2009:
Vol. 325, Issue 5948, pp. 1607
DOI: 10.1126/science.325_1607

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A new analysis of the grantsmaking process at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) lifts the veil on how many grant proposals are funded even though they fall below a cutoff based on peer-review scores. The bottom line—at least 19% of NIH's basic research portfolio is funded for reasons that go beyond quality—may stoke simmering concerns about the agency's policy that favors young investigators. The finding is part of a U.S. Government Accountability Office report released this week that examined management practices at NIH's 27 institutes and centers.