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Sequestration Specs at NIH

There will be fewer grants and fewer patients and all areas of science will be affected by sequestration, according to a new factsheet posted by NIH yesterday.

Compared with 2012, this year NIH will be able to fund around 700 fewer competitive research grants and will be able to admit roughly 750 fewer new patients into the NIH Clinical Center, due to the roughly 5 percent funding cut that was enacted because Congress and the White House could not reach a long-term deficit-reduction agreement.

Existing noncompeting research project grants will be cut by around 4.7 percent, on average, NIH estimates, but in general the duration of these grants will not be shortened.

The institutes will have some flexibility to deal with the funding cut this year "in a fashion that allows them to meet their scientific and strategic goals," NIH says, and these capabilities may vary depending on the institute or center.

The sequestration cuts in a broad stroke, and it does not stipulate any particular scientific areas that will be cut, so it is likely that most of the scientific disciplines will be reduced by around 5 percent, the agency says.

The impact of the sequestration on NIH's intramural research in Bethesda and its off-campus labs will be "substantial," NIH says, particularly because the cut was applied retroactively to the beginning of fiscal year 2013, meaning the agency has to absorb a full year of cuts in less than half a year.

That said, NIH does not expect to furlough or cut employees at its NIH campus or in its off-campus facilities, and instead plans to delay hiring and reduce administrative services contracts, the agency says.