Darn you, Drug Monkey-

I’ve been stewing about the NIH funding situation, and Drug Monkey is fueling my ire. A colleague sent me a news article from Nature expounding on potential changes to NIH grant… I’m sorry but you have to have access to a library with a subscription to read the whole thing. One of the most unexpected parts of this article for me were the ## of investigators with many many NIH grants. There are, according to this article, 783 investigators with 4 or more NIH grants, and 195 of these actually have 5 or more NIH grants.

Wow. I had no idea. That seems crazy. I know that there are at least 195 people who won’t like me saying that… oh well.
Discuss.

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4 thoughts on “Darn you, Drug Monkey-

  1. There are many important caveats, of course. Most specifically it is not made clear in the Nature piece whether they are talking total costs or just direct costs and whether or not the cost of a whole Center (or other BigMech) is being ascribed to the Center Director. So things may not be quite as bad as they sound on the face.

    Also, as I think writedit pointed out, some research is just dang expensive…if the technical and operational costs are 5 X higher, this doesn’t really mean that the PI is spread thinner just because s/he is overseeing several fold more dollars in grants.

  2. Yes, I know. They don’t give the breakdown in the article of what flavor each of these grants is – so 195 people with 5 or more grants doesn’t necessarily mean that these are R01s. Although I do know that we have an investigator on campus who is PI on 5R01s- so this does happen.

    As for some science being more expensive than others- this is true- but I guess I don’t have a good general feeling for this. My sense is that most of the funding from any individual grant goes to pay salaries…and not for expensive reagents/animals/subcontracts… but it may be completely wrong to make a generalization about this.

    I don’t know of only one person in my field with 4 R01- and pretty much no one else with more than 3 R01s….So 5 is hard for me to picture.

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