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Cycle Repeat?

The proposed increase in funding for the US National Institutes of Health could spark another round of "boom and bust" for biomedical researchers, Nature News writes.

In its budget request earlier this year, the Biden Administration sought $1.5 trillion in federal spending, including $131.7 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services and, in particular, $51 billion for the National Institutes of Health — which would be a $9 billion-boost in funding.

Nature News notes that while this proposed funding increase has been welcomed, some are concerned that it could lead to increased competition among junior researchers, especially if this funding boost is later followed by a funding cut — like what occurred after the NIH budget doubled in the early 2000s but was followed by funding declines.

However, Georgia State University's Paula Stephan tells Nature News that the situation may differ as repeat infusions of funds aren't expected, as much of the funding is to go toward developing Advanced Research Project Agency for Health, and as postdocs are now paid more than they used to be. Michael Lauer, the deputy director for extramural research at NIH, likewise says he doesn't expect a boom-bust repeat, according to Nature News. "We remember that experience," he tells it.

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