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A Cap on Grant Applications — Does it Work?

In March of 2009, the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council instituted a new grant application system — researchers will be banned from applying for research funding for 12 months if they've had three or more proposals ranked in the bottom half of a funding prioritization list during the past two years, or have had less than 25 percent of the proposals funded in that time, DrugMonkey writes. After scientists complained, EPSRC said it would wait until April 2010 to implement the changes, to give the community time to adjust. More than a year later, DrugMonkey says, the strategy has proven to be a success. According to the Nature News Blog, grant applications in the UK are down from about 5,000 a year in the 2005-2006 cycle to less than 3,000 in the 2010-2011 cycle. Despite a declining number of funded grants, success rates are actually up. "Of course, success rates are a poor picture of what has happened to science funding," DrugMonkey says. "The tough questions start from here. Who has managed to secure funding? Who has been shelled out of the system? Have existing labs been scaled back ... or lost altogether? Has this been at disparate cost to newly starting faculty, mid-career faculty or the geezertariat?"

The Scan

Two J&J Doses

Johnson & Johnson says two doses of its SARS-CoV-2 vaccine provides increased protection against symptomatic COVID-19, CNN reports.

Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine Response in Kids

The Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine in a lower-dose format appears to generate an immune response among children, according to the Washington Post.

Chicken Changes to Prevent Disease

The Guardian writes that researchers are looking at gene editing chickens to help prevent future pandemics.

PNAS Papers on Siberian Dog Ancestry, Insect Reproduction, Hippocampal Neurogenesis

In PNAS this week: ancestry and admixture among Siberian dogs, hormone role in fruit fly reproduction, and more.