Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Younger Scientists Lack Research Funding Grants

From The Wall Street Journal, "How to Reverse the Graying of Scientific Research: Dramatically fewer grants are going to young scientists. That's a cause for alarm." by Ronald J Daniels and Paul Rothman:
The National Institutes of Health reports that between 1980 and 2012, the share of all research funding going to scientists under age 35 declined to 1.3%, from 5.6%. During the same period, the number of NIH awards going to scientists age 35 and under declined more than 40%, even as the total number of awards more than doubled.

The numbers are similarly unsettling for the NIH's premier research grant, called the R01, a highly competitive, peer-reviewed grant that supports independent, investigator-driven science. From 1983 to 2010, the percentage of R01 investigators under age 36 declined to 3% from 18%. Principal investigators who were age 65 or older received more than twice as many R01 grants in 2010 as those 36 and under—a reversal from 15 years earlier. The average age at which investigators with a medical degree received their first R01 grant rose to 45 in 2011, from 38 in 1980.

Considering that many of the most significant scientific breakthroughs were made by the 36-and-younger set—from Albert Einstein developing his special theory of relativity at 26 to James Watson at 25 and Francis Crick at 36 discovering the DNA double helix—we deprive young scientists of funding at our peril.

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