Cost of War

May 2, 2007

In a nutshell this is why scientists have a visceral rage about the tight NIH funding picture. One estimate of the cost of the Iraq war puts it at about $422.3 billion and translates this number into what is being lost into units of public good like education and public housing. Let’s translate that into grants, shall we? The most easily available numbers from the NIH are for funding trends for FY2003. In FY2003, the NIH funded some 28,698 R01 grants at an average cost of about $340,000 in total costs per year. So let me just see here….. 422.3 billion divide by 6 years divide by $340K….um 207,010 R01s are being burned in Iraq each year. (Almost 4,000 grants each and every week.) That’s about 7 times the number of R01 grants that the NIH funded in 2003.

This is the answer to why scientists aren’t buying the “it’s tough times” stuff. It is why it wouldn’t bother me if the NCCAM wasted a bunch of money.

Seven times the number of grants. Look around you. Seven times more funding for your lab. Or seven times the grants in your Department. Seven times the funding in your cosy little subfield. Dynamics of cats has similar thoughts.

Just think of what we would cure…

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