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Researchers tell ScienceInsider that the US National Science Foundation's recent move to limit the number of biology proposals a principal investigator can submit each year is a misstep.

Last week, Joanne Tornow, the acting assistant director for NSF's biology section, wrote in a blog post that the agency would cap the number of submissions a researcher can make to the biology core programs as PI or co-PI to one proposal annually. This, she said, would decrease the number of similar submissions and resubmissions the agency receives.

But researchers tell ScienceInsider that this will particularly harm early-career investigators. "It's a terrible idea," Michigan State University's Heather Eisthen tells it. "If you're an early-career scientist, desperate for funding, you're not going to submit risky, collaborative projects that might be rejected. You're going to focus on your own career and submit projects that are safe bets."

Tornow tells ScienceInsider that researchers can still be listed as senior personnel on numerous grants and that the agency does not differentiate between PIs, co-PIs, or senior personnel in terms of their intellectual contributions to a project. ScienceInsider notes, however, that researchers themselves do.