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NIH, NSF, and the Budget Proposal

Though the White House's 2011 budget proposal freezes non-military discretionary spending overall, the National Institutes of Health could be seeing a $1 billion increase, which is a 3.2 percent change, as our sister publication GenomeWeb Daily News noted yesterday. The Obama administration is putting a particular focus on autism and cancer research. NIH Director Francis Collins is pleased and says the institute plans to sequence the genomes of 300 people with autism and their parents and to expand the cancer genome atlas, reports ScienceInsider. However, Collins expects that grant application success rates will fall in 2011, as the amount of money for extramural grants will decrease by 0.3 percent. "Frankly, we are going to have to do great science under challenging circumstances," he says.

For the more visually-inclined of you, both Wired and the UK's Guardian have charts of the budget proposal's allocations. Wired says the winners in this proposal are NIH, NSF, and NASA — the loser looks to be the Center for Disease Control and Prevention which is seeing a small cut in funding. The Guardian takes a historical perspective and compares the proposal to the last Bush administration budget.

The budget includes an increase to National Science Foundation funding, an eight percent change that would to bring its budget to $7.4-billion. This, the Chronicle of Higher Education points out, is consistent with the president's plan to double the research funding for NSF, as well as other agencies, by 2017.

Finally, according to ScienceInsider, President Barack Obama says that investing in science is necessary for economic growth. "We also continue to lay a new foundation for lasting growth… That's why we build on the largest investment in clean energy in history, as well as increase investment in scientific research, so that we are fostering the industries and jobs of the future right here in America," he says.

The Scan

Renewed Gain-of-Function Worries

The New York Times writes that the pandemic is renewing concerns about gain-of-function research.

Who's Getting the Patents?

A trio of researchers has analyzed gender trends in biomedical patents issued between 1976 and 2010 in the US, New Scientist reports.

Other Uses

CBS Sunday Morning looks at how mRNA vaccine technology could be applied beyond SARS-CoV-2.

PLOS Papers Present Analysis of Cervicovaginal Microbiome, Glycosylation in Model Archaea, More

In PLOS this week: functional potential of the cervicovaginal microbiome, glycosylation patterns in model archaea, and more.