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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
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NIH Chided on Translational Center, Warned of More Budget Cuts
23 September 2011 2:57 pm
A Senate spending panel has praised a new translational center at the National Institutes of Health but scolded NIH officials for how it was created. The language accompanies the 2012 spending bill approved Wednesday by the Senate Appropriations Committee that would trim NIH's budget by 0.6% next year, to $30.5 billion.
The new National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) would receive $582 million under the legislation, which still must be approved by the full Senate and then negotiated with the House of Representatives, which has yet to act on NIH's 2012 budget. NIH had requested $722 million for NCATS, most of it from moving existing programs at the National Center for Research Resources, which is being closed, into NCATS. NIH had also requested $100 million within NCATS for the Cures Acceleration Network (CAN), a new program created by the 2010 health care reform bill. Instead, the Senate panel gave CAN $20 million.
In a report accompanying the bill, the committee lauds the creation of NCATS, which it calls "nothing less than fundamentally changing the way NIH pursues the translation of basic science into treatments and cures." But the committee is "disappointed by the way the Administration requested it." The president's 2012 budget released in February included only a "vague description" of NCATS and no budget details, which "caused unnecessary uncertainty" and "contributed to the impression that it was being rushed." NIH should keep those lessons in mind as it proceeds over the next 2 years with plans to merge its two addiction institutes, the committee says.
The report also warned that tight budgets will likely continue and that NIH needs to "explore creative ways" of allocating funding. "Continuing to nick away, little by little, at the success rate or size of awards ... will inevitably have a negative impact on young investigators" and on high-risk research, the report says.
The panel said it was "deeply disturbed" by a recent analysis finding that black scientists are far less likely to win research grants than white scientists. While it applauds NIH for taking what it calls "significant actions designed to redress the disparities," the panel warns that "ultimately, ... NIH will be judged on whether the disparities are reduced." It asks for an update next year on the situation.