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Nobel Winners on Science Funding

Budget cuts at the US National Institutes of Health are affecting basic research, say James Rothman, Randy Schekman, and Thomas Südhof, the three winners of this year's Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. All three, Reuters notes, have received NIH funding at some point in their careers. Yale University's Rothman adds that without that funding his research leading to the Nobel Prize would not have been pursued.

The federal government shutdown has stopped research at NIH itself while the agency has also halted its review of grant applications for outside researchers, Bloomberg adds. In addition, the sequestration cuts earlier this year took a slice out of the NIH budget. Südhof at Stanford University notes that science funding is "imperiled."

"Federal paralysis is frankly imperiling our biomedical enterprise," adds Schekman from University of California, Berkeley, according to Reuters.

The researchers also criticize the agency's focus on translational science. "Many of my colleagues, particularly young colleagues, feel they have to work on medically relevant things. For example, yeast, which I continue to view as a valuable model organism, is less popular now simply because people feel they can't get NIH funding to work on yeast," Schekman says.