NIH abandons grant cap, offers new help to younger scientists

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Science  16 Jun 2017:
Vol. 356, Issue 6343, pp. 1108
DOI: 10.1126/science.356.6343.1108

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After fierce pushback from many researchers, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, is dropping a 1-month-old plan to spread funds to more investigators by capping the amount of support any individual scientist could receive. Instead, NIH is creating a new fund that will eventually devote $1 billion a year—about 3% of the agency's current $34 billion budget—specifically to funding proposals from early- and midcareer scientists. The new plan, unveiled on 8 June, is a stunning shift from the earlier policy, which would have limited a principal investigator's support to the equivalent of three standard R01 research grants. The new program will free up funds for about 2400 grants for younger scientists, far more than the original cap plan.