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NIH Reconsiders 'Two Strikes' Policy

US National Institutes of Health officials are reconsidering a policy that gives grant applicants only one chance at winning funding for a rejected proposal, Nature News Blog reports.

The so-called "two strikes" rule was implemented in 2009, replacing a previous policy that gave researchers three chances to garner funding for a grant application. The change was made because the agency was finding that second and third submissions tended to create a bottleneck that delayed review of first-time submissions.

However, as the Nature News Blog reports, the two-strikes policy has been extremely unpopular with scientists, "who have complained of it nearly incessantly to NIH's Office of Extramural Research."

John Moore of Weill Cornell Medical College tells the blog that he would welcome a reversion back to the three-strikes model since there is "randomness" in the peer-review system that can leave some applications unfunded despite the quality of the proposal.

"If a reviewer doesn't like how you use semi-colons, or is having a bad hair day before the coffee kicks in, or was once threatened by one of your papers, you can fall from [the] 6% to 12% [percentile] in a flash, without any reflection on the actual merits of the application," he says.

Giving researchers a third chance "literally doubles the chance an applicant can overcome a randomly (slightly) negative comment or two that was sufficient to take the application out of the funding range and into the also-rans."

The Scan

Could Cost Billions

NBC News reports that the new Alzheimer's disease drug from Biogen could cost Medicare in the US billions of dollars.

Not Quite Sent

The Biden Administration likely won't meet its goal of sending 80 million SARS-CoV-2 vaccine doses abroad by the end of the month, according to the Washington Post.

DTC Regulation Proposals

A new report calls on UK policymakers to review direct-to-consumer genetic testing regulations, the Independent reports.

PNAS Papers on Mosquito MicroRNAs, Acute Kidney Injury, Trichothiodystrophy

In PNAS this week: microRNAs involved in Aedes aegypti reproduction, proximal tubule cell response to kidney injury, and more.