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Just One for You

The US National Institute of General Medical Sciences will soon limit the number of grants already well-supported investigators may receive from the agency.

"Investigators with substantial, long-term, unrestricted research support may generally hold no more than one NIGMS research grant," NIGMS says in an announcement. The policy is set to go into effect at the beginning of 2016.

This move, Jocelyn Kaiser at ScienceInsider says, could free up $6 million or about enough to cover 25 grants for other researchers. The policy will, she adds, affect researchers like those with Howard Hughes Medical Institute funding and those with endowed chairs. NIGMS Deputy Director Judith Greenberg tells her that the agency currently supports nearly two dozen HHMI investigators who have two or three NIGMS research grants. 

While HHMI investigator Johannes Walter at Harvard University tells Kaiser that though he's not super happy to give up one of his two NIGMS grants, he understands the need for such a policy as many other labs survive solely on federal funds.

"A policy that makes sure these federal dollars reach a maximum number of deserving labs seems very reasonable to me," he tells her in an email.

This announcement, DrugMonkey notes, comes on the heels of a blog post from NIGMS director Jon Lorsch on "shared responsibility."

In the post, Lorsch says that that the biomedical research system needs to be changed. He also writes that large budgets don't give funders "the best returns on our investments in basic science" and that "having a broad and diverse research portfolio should maximize the number of important discoveries that emerge from the science we support."