I've been linking to reports and editorials concerning biomedical funding issues, and, in this regard, I wanted to be sure to link to this NPR report. It's of interest, first, because of NPR's stature as a national news organization and its influential audience, and, second, because it's well-reported. I was pleasantly surprised, for example, that the report includes a quotation that directs attention towards the large degree of culpability of the biomedical research establishment itself--including the NIH, universities and other major research institutions--for the current gloomy funding environment:
There was nothing on soft money salaries and how they greatly magnify the impact of funding constraints and the overall level of gloom, but have a look for yourself: the NPR story is a nice, concise introduction for lay people to the current NIH funding situation.It seemed like great fortune when the NIH budget soared more than a decade ago. "Unfortunately, a lot of research institutions and medical schools were hogs to the trough," Burke says. "They hired a lot of people and built a lot of buildings with the expectation that that would continue. And when that flattened off, and started losing money to inflation, the institutions were essentially bloated."
UPDATE: I see now that this story is part of a series by NPR's Richard Harris on the ugly NIH funding environment. The title of the next installment is kind of depressing: When Scientists Give Up. Not sure I want to listen or read the transcript, but the first episode was promising enough that I guess I'll eventually get around to reading the whole series.