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Between Funding and IRBs, It's a Wonder Anyone Researches Us at All

Normally we don't link back to items more than a week old, but GTO missed the boat on this column in the last issue of Newsweek and it's worth a read. Sharon Begley writes about the challenges of translational research -- starting with the difficulty in getting grant funding compared to basic research projects. "That's what clinical scientists, who feel like the stepchildren of biomedical research compared with the cool kids who study fruit flies, have long suspected, and last month brought quantitative proof," she writes. A study of NIH grant proposals from 2000 to 2004 "found that those for research with people got much lower scores, and thus were less likely to be funded, than those for research on cell cultures, animals and the like." Begley's column also touches on why more scientists are avoiding the red tape involved with research that would necessitate dealing with an IRB.