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Fighting for a Piece of the Pie

Inequality in science funding has always been a problem, according to a 2006 article by The Scientist’s Alison McCook. At the time, McCook wrote that about one in five NIH extramural dollars went to 10 of the 3,000 institutions that receive grants. She added that only five US states got about half of all NIH funding, leaving the other 45 to split the rest. “In 2004, [the University of South Dakota] and [the University of North Dakota] received $10 million and $8 million from the National Institutes of Health, respectively, amounting to barely one percent of that given to the top-funded school that year, Johns Hopkins University,” McCook wrote. Professor Ian Blair from the University of Pennsylvania told McCook in 2006 that "My view is that mass spectrometers are like handbags. You can't have too many." Meanwhile, UND was having trouble recruiting the specialized experts it needed to run high-level research because it had almost nothing to offer them in terms of equipment and lab space, McCook wrote. UND’s Van Doze said of better-funded institutions: "They've got tanks for weaponry, and we've got BB guns."

NeuroDojo's Zen Faulkes says the article strikes a chord with him "because I'm in a 'have not' institution with ambition." As to Doze's analogy, Faulkes says he should "count yourself lucky, good sir! Or we shall come after you with our pointed sticks!"

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