The past is prologue: Political NIH interference edition

January 24, 2017

From a prestigious general science journal:

“Important elements in both Senate and the House are showing increasing dissatisfaction over Congress’s decade-long honeymoon with medical research….critics are dissatisfied…with the NIH’s procedures for supervising the use of money by its research grantees….NIH officials..argued, rather, that the most productive method in financing research is to pick good people with good projects and let them carry out their work without encumbering them…its growth has been phenomenal….[NIH director}: nor do we believe that most scientific groups in the country have an asking and a selling price for their product which is research activity…we get a realistic appraisal of what they need to do the job..the supervisory function properly belongs to the universities and other institutions where the research takes place….closing remarks of the report are:…Congress has been overzealous in appropriating money for health research”.

D.S. Greenberg, Medical Research Funds: NIH Path Through Congress Has Developed Troublesome Bumps, Science 13 Jul 1962, Vol. 137, Issue 3524, pp. 115-119
DOI: 10.1126/science.137.3524.115 [link]
Previously posted.

9 Responses to “The past is prologue: Political NIH interference edition”

  1. Geo Says:

    The more things change, the more they remain the same.


  2. Jmz4 Says:

    I wonder if the administration has ideological commitments in this regard, or just a desire to make an impact of some sort. Can we offer up cuts to red tape as sufficient reform, or are scientist a target for this administration similar to the way they’ve put cross hairs on journalists.


  3. JL Says:

    Jmz4, To Trump, scientists are worst than journalists because we care about facts more than anything. What is saving us, for now, is that we are not as good as journalists at getting heard. If we really knew how to get the message out, he would have cut NIH’s budget on day one.


  4. Grumble Says:

    “If we really knew how to get the message out, he would have cut NIH’s budget on day one.”

    There’s talk of a scientists’ march on Washington to protest Trump’s silencing of climate change science (and potentially other forms). I wonder if this will backfire in a big way. If that vindictive SOB sees NIH-funded scientists marching en masse against him, what do you think his reaction would be?


  5. Grumble Says:

    (By the way, the president doesn’t have the authority to cut the NIH budget. He can, of course, try to get Congress to do it. So far he has been almost completely silent about the NIH – but he is so unpredictable that it’s impossible to foresee where the NIH will stand in the budget he proposes to Congress.)


  6. Emaderton3 Says:

    @ Grumble

    But, he can insist science go in a certain direction. As I posted in the previous DM post, he has already told NSF that they will be funding grants based on “national” interests . . .

    What recourse does NIH, NSF, etc. have if they do not agree with the administration regarding a direction science will go and get funded?


  7. Imager Says:

    He kept the current NIH director at least for now. So, here is hoping…


  8. AwK Says:

    I’m with Grumble that this can backfire in a YUGE way.

    Their anti-science stand has been completely predictable and seems to be focused on traditional GOP issues, cuts to EPA, and soon probably atmospheric science, social sciences. And unfortunately a significant part of the electorate agrees with their perspective. On the other hand, the GOP has not been generally anti-science and they are likely to fund NIH/NSF (e.g. see New Gingrich & federal investments in nanotechnology).

    I’d like to first see a demonstration about tax fairness (on 4/15?), one person one vote for voting rights/redistricting, immigration/tolerance — burning issues. The administration’s war on facts may not imply a general anti-science agenda, we should wait and see.


  9. drugmonkey Says:

    the GOP has not been generally anti-science

    are you high?


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