ANCHOR LEAD: CANCER RESEARCHERS MAY BE PLAYING IT SAFE IN AN EFFORT TO SECURE FUNDING, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
The tanking economy appears to be taking a toll on cutting edge cancer research by causing many researchers to play it safe, at least according to some observers. Bill Nelson, director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, speculates on why.
NELSON: The system that we’ve created with the funding levels that support it are a little bit risk averse I think may be an accurate criticism. But I do think that we need to be very creative about getting the new, bold ideas supported. I think a few years ago the funding for the NIH was doubled, there was momentum that was achieved. The flat funding after that, effectively, we’re almost back to where we were at the start so we’ve lost some of that momentum that we gained. :26
Nelson says the grant evaluation system that’s currently in place is not designed to discriminate between competing excellent ideas, and that by the time a grant is ready to be submitted so much preliminary data has been collected that the idea no longer appears novel. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.