IR 307 MBC_Science

IR 307 MBC_Science - NEWS FOCUS 65 64 63 62 61 60 59 58 57...

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65 64 63 62 61 60 59 58 57 56 55 54 53 52 51 50 49 48 47 46 45 44 43 42 41 40 39 38 37 36 35 34 33 32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 21 SEPTEMBER 2001 VOL 293 SCIENCE 2196 in the scientific mainstream.” Brody, too, is a fan of greater inclusion. And he concedes that geography has become an essential element in the federal funding picture. “Five years ago, I’d have said that emerging institutions can do it on their own. Today there’s a realization that the lack of geographic distribution undermines political support for all biomedical research,” he says. But Brody and others worry that BRIN may not be the best strategy. “It doesn’t re- quire states to make the necessary invest- ment in their research infrastructure,” he notes. “Look at some of the newer UC [Uni- versity of California] campuses or the Flori- da system. State legislators there decided to put up the money, and those schools have become topflight research institutions.” Vaitukaitus says that NIH chose not to re- quire states to ante up money for BRIN “be- cause we didn’t want to be unfair to those states that can’t afford it. But they do need to show an institutional commitment to strengthening their research capacity.” She says that “these people can be the best, too, given the resources and the wherewithal to carry out research.” The BRIN awards will provide each state with up to $2 million a year for 3 years, and some state officials are already hoping for a second round to allow sufficient time to col- lect data on the program’s impact. Next month NIH will sponsor a workshop in Ok- lahoma City to discuss the evolution of both COBRE and BRIN. “From our perspective,” says Taylor, “the best thing that could hap- pen is for these states to graduate from the IDeA program.” However, EPSCoR’s track record at NSF suggests that such an outcome is unlikely. All the original states are still eligible—and thus still at the back of the scientific pack. At the same time, NSF raised the bar a few years ago by shifting some of the funding to its research directorates, forcing applicants to hold their own against proposals from the rest of the country. That’s the sort of competition that NIH must foster, the advisory council told Kirschstein this summer. “Whatever you do, you need to rely on merit review and com- petition,” says Brody. “Without that, you risk the loss of scientific quality.” –JEFFREY MERVIS NEWS FOCUS EL NARANJO,THE PETÉN,GUATEMALA— From a motorboat plying the tranquil San Pedro River in this remote area, John Beaver sur- veys the jungle around him. To the north, a wetland teeming with birds and alligators fans out from Laguna del Tigre, a national park. To the south, verdant karst hills stretch off into the Sierra del Lacandón park. Beaver, a field staffer with The Nature Conservan- cy (TNC), hopes to provide safe passage for the animals by protecting a strip of land,
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This note was uploaded on 03/10/2010 for the course IR 307 at USC.

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IR 307 MBC_Science - NEWS FOCUS 65 64 63 62 61 60 59 58 57...

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