What would you do with the NIH budget of $30.2bn?

A few weeks ago I wrote of a possible nightmare scenario if Pharma stopped funding research. I was reminded of this today for a whole other reason. I was reading an article by Alex Philippidis over at Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News which discusses the proposed 1% budget increase for the NIH and also the drop in number of grant proposals submitted and decreased size of grants. While the NIH budget is not being slashed, I get the impression that a 1% raise is as good as a cut. I could think of a few things I would do with the $30.2 billion NIH budget.

1. Replace massively bureaucratic and distorted grant system with an open review system. Increase the opportunities for funding early stage researchers (and by that I mean PIs under 40).

2. Ensure that rare diseases and infectious diseases received more funding and redistribute funds from NCI.

3. Shake up SBIR and STTR system so that reviewers were paid and accountable. Invest more money in this program.

4. Provide funding for immediate publication of all research in open access journals.

5. Remove duplication of efforts in intramural and extramural research.

6. Increase engagement with community (patients, scientists, non-scientists, business).

7. Increase funding for academics so that they can retain  independence rather than them becoming CROs for Pharma.

8. Expand relationship with pharmas to screen drugs on hold and also evaluate failed drugs / targets in more detail.

9. Embrace more cutting edge technologies – rather than reacting to issues (e.g. data quality, big data, mobile etc).

10. Provide more opportunities for outsiders to influence NIH projects, policy, direction.


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