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Funding Needed

The US National Institutes of Health is tasked with supporting scientific research to better health, and agency Director Francis Collins writes in the Washington Post that budget woes may lead to some research projects being delayed.

"Biomedical research is at a critical juncture," he says, adding that "[m]any of the most exciting possibilities stem from the convergence of several factors: innovative tools and technologies arising from the Human Genome Project; advances in computers and biomedical imaging that are fueling a generation of complex digital data sets known as 'big data'; and increased interest … to accelerate the rate at which research findings are turned into treatments and cures."

NIH, and other federal agencies, has been beset by budget cuts due to the belt-tightening sequester as well as a budget that has not kept pace with inflation. Collins says that without increased funds, NIH-funded research may lag. He notes, though, that the recent budget deal reached by Congress may provide needed cash to the agency. "If an investment in hope is not worth supporting, I don’t know what is," he adds.