Technological advances are offering a number of scientific opportunities in biomedical research right now, but they may be undercut by shrinking research funding budgets, write the US National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins and Sally Rockey, the deputy director for extramural research at NIH, at the Rock Talk blog.
In the blog post, they note that the past 10 years of nearly flat budgets has been exacerbated by the across-the-board sequestration budget cuts, saying that the purchasing power of the NIH has declined some 25 percent over those 10 years.
"The progressively worsening budget situation has the potential to inflict profound, long-term damage to US scientific momentum and morale," they write.
Grant application success rates, they add, have plummeted to less than 16 percent, affecting both what new studies can be started and which ongoing ones can continue.
Further, Collins and Rockey say that the one major effect of the current NIH funding situation will be the loss of new investigators to other countries or to other lines of work.
"If our current budget battles cost the United States an entire generation of scientists, we will have compromised our nation's global standing in biomedical research and slowed the improvement of health for all Americans," they add.