When we first started our Pattern Recognition page — a list of grants given to researchers in genomics, prote-omics, and other systems biology disciplines — I have to admit that I was somewhat dubious it would stick around. Would anyone actually bother to look at a list of PIs and their projects?
Probably not. But you throw the award dollar amount in there, and suddenly you have a page people are talking about. Readers regularly ask in our focus groups, “How did you get this information?” as they pore over it, ignoring the pastries and coffee in front of them.
Like fans of the passing offense in Notre Dame football, I’m a firm believer that if something works, you go with it. In that spirit, we offer this month’s cover story — a sort of Pattern Recognition on steroids. We wanted to be able to give you a year-in-review look at where government grant funding went this year, and to that end, Senior Writer Jen Crebs and I eked every piece of 2005 data we could out of NIH, NSF, USDA, and DOD (unfortunately, the other major agency, DOE, was less forthcoming with its data). Braving the odds of carpal tunnel syndrome, we sorted through every blessed grant in those databases, keeping only the ones that were obviously related to the disciplines that make up systems biology (obviously, this method was less than scientific, but I believe the results to be the best estimate of grant funding available). Then we compiled our data to find out award totals for those agencies, as well as totals by technology category.
To round out the picture, we hosted a reader survey to get a better picture of the state of lab funding today. Some 400 of you took the time to respond — thank you so much for your time and candor. The valuable data that came out of that survey are also included in our cover story. In all, I think the results you’ll see there give a clear picture of where the money is and where it’s going. We also interviewed the people you consider most successful at winning grants to get their advice on writing a better proposal.
Also in this issue, you’ll find a spotlight on Germany. Jen’s in-depth examination led to a great overview on funding and research in the country. We’ll be distributing this issue electronically to scientists in Germany as part of our ongoing effort to reach overseas readers.
This is the last issue of the year for Genome Technology. We hope 2005 has been as good to you as it has to us, and we’ll see you in January for another year of innovations and great science.
What do you think of Genome Technology? Let me know how we’re doing by e-mailing me at [email protected] or by calling me at +1.212.651.5635.