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More Money, More Problems

There's money to be had and there are projects to get off the ground, but how the stimulus package funds will be doled out by NIH and NSF will differ, says the Chronicle of Higher Education. During the legislative debate on the bill, some members of the US House of Representatives called for the funds to be spread out more geographically and not just to the states already strong in research. Because of that, NIH has decided to alter its guidelines to be "more sensitive to geographic distribution"; NSF, however, has not changed its policies.

It's all a mistake, say Alex Palazzo and Larry Moran on their blogs. Palazzo writes that instead of perpetuating the boom/bust cycle of research funding, stable careers need to be built. Moran concurs, saying this has happened before in Canada. "A temporary increase in funding of the granting agencies [led] to compounding the pain of the inevitable budget cut a few years later," Moran writes.

The stimulus isn't the only source of money for these agencies, though it's giving $21 billion to science research. Also on the table are the budgets for fiscal years 2009 and 2010. Science Insider reports that the House and the Senate issued a joint omnibus spending bill for 2009 a few days ago that the House should be voting on sometime this week. The Obama administration is looking ahead, mapping out a skeletal budget for 2010 that will be presented to Congress in April.