The most recent US economic recession (or what-ever you’d like to call it) may have righted itself, but there’s another downturn we’re worried about: government funding for science. After five years of double-digit-percentage increases, the NIH managed to double its budget — getting a generation of young systems biologists used to a cushy grant landscape where there was plenty of funding for everyone.
Those days are long gone. For the upcoming fiscal year, NIH expects no increase over last year’s budget, which probably means it will actually lose money. (As people like to point out, even a flat budget technically means a loss, thanks to inflation.) At other government granting agencies like NSF, USDA, and DOE, times are equally hard. The success rate in funding new grants has dropped precipitously. And with systems biology more popular than ever, the competition for the money that remains has gotten fierce.
So scientists are looking for non-governmental sources of funding to keep their research efforts on track. If you’re Eric Lander, you shake a few hands and score $200 million from a pair of wealthy philanthropists. But if you don’t have the Broads in your personal contacts list, this issue of GT will be a good place to start. We’ve rounded up dozens of grant-giving organizations that specialize in scientific, biomedical, or other related research. You’ll find them listed by type of research they support along with lots of details (including upcoming deadlines, how to apply, contact information) designed to help you quickly home in on the ones that may be right for you. One of our editors likens this to a list of ATM locations, and we’d like to think that’s not so far off the mark.
Also in this issue, you’ll find an article on the latest trends in pharmacoproteomics. We had hoped to be right on top of this topic, but as it turns out, we may be a little early (think of it as advance notice). As I’m writing this, PubMed returns just over a dozen references to that term, and apparently journal editors are still reluctant to let scientists use it because it’s so new. As Emanuel Petricoin says, though, it’s really just the proteomic equivalent of pharmacogenomics — pharmas teaming up with, or bringing in-house, proteomic expertise and technologies to help find biomarkers and other information to stratify patient populations and better target therapeutics. In our story, we profile Petricoin’s recent efforts, which are just now getting into the clinic, as well as several proteomics companies that are in alliances with pharmaceutical firms to do this kind of work.
I’d also like to bring your attention to our second roundtable of the year. This follows on our theme of “the lab of the future” with an emphasis on bioinformatics and IT. Our participants are well-known and highly respected members of the bioinformatics field, and their discussion was not only lively but quite insightful. GT sincerely thanks our team of experts for their time.
Meredith W. Salisbury, Editor
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