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The Funding of Young Investigators in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences 3 EXTRAMURAL FUNDING OF NEWLY INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATORS IN BIOLOGICAL SCIENCE OVERVIEW OF FUNDING OF THE BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES The biological (nonbiomedical) sciences constitute a large number of scientific disciplines that range from the study of single plant cells to the study of ecosystems and embrace such diverse subjects as molecular evolution, plant pathology, and environmental science. In many respects, the state of funding of biological research in the United States is markedly different from that of funding of the biomedical sciences. Unlike the biomedical sciences, which have experienced a steady increase in funding over the last 30 years, the biological sciences have seen only a modest increase, as reflected in the research commitments of the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA), the two principal sources of funds for biological sciences. No dominant federal agency considers the well-being of biological-science research as a central part of its mission, as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) considers the well-being of biomedical science. Most of the federal and nonfederal agencies that support the biological sciences have only a limited commitment to encouraging young investigators. The only grant programs specifically targeting newly independent investigators in the biological sciences are relatively small ones administered by NSF and the Department of Defense (DOD) Office of Naval Research (ONR). Biological research (e.g., in agriculture and the environment) has traditionally been less generously funded than biomedical research. Fewer persons have sought advanced degrees in these fields, the research facilities have deteriorated, and the academic infrastructure will have to be rebuilt to respond to new scientific challenges. Compared with biomedical research, one
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The Funding of Young Investigators in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences can expect a longer time between advances in basic research and their practical application. The relative insufficiency of funding of biological research is evident from a comparison of the numbers of Ph.D. recipients in the United States in 1990 who planned academic careers in the biomedical and biological sciences with the funding available in each group of disciplines. The estimated 6,600 Ph.D.s in biological sciences, health sciences, and agricultural sciences were divided almost equally between scientists who pursued academic biomedical and biological research careers (14,42), but funding for the support of nonbiomedical fields is small, compared with that for biomedical research. The granting mechanisms that support the biological sciences have much in common with the research-project grant (R01) of NIH. However, biological-science grants tend to be for shorter periods and smaller amounts, and sometimes they entail indirect-cost ceilings and cost-sharing requirements for the host universities or a matching-fund provision. In several federal agencies, peer review is less formalized than the standing study-section committees established at NIH. Newly independent investigators generally compete directly with established investigators for funding. FEDERAL FUNDING OF BASIC BIOLOGICAL RESEARCH The federal obligation for applied and basic research by agency in the life sciences is summarized in Figure 3-1. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE USDA spent about $1 billion in basic and applied research in the life sciences in FY 1992, including about $519 million in basic and $473 million in applied life-science research (128), largely through the auspices of the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the Forest Service (FS), and the Cooperative State Research Service (CSRS). The largest source of funds for basic and applied research in USDA is ARS. It does not fund extramural grants; rather, it employs over 1,200 scientists at about 130 agricultural research stations. In 1980, ARS initiated a 2-year Postdoctoral Research Associate Program intended to attract young
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The Funding of Young Investigators in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences Figure 3-1 Federal obligations for applied and basic research by major research agencies in the life sciences, 1960–1991. Source: NSF (133).
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The Funding of Young Investigators in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences scientists to work at its stations to bring a fresh perspective to agricultural problems and applications of biotechnology. In 1987–1992, 179 postdoctoral research associates became permanent employees of ARS. In 1990, the program employed 436 researchers at a cost of $19 million. In 1993, the number of researchers employed increased to 550 at a cost of $24 million. FS manages the renewable resources of forest and range land, performs research in cooperation with state and private forestry, and conducts research at research stations. Research grants are funded primarily through eight research stations and 185 work units. In FY 1990, about $11.7 million in research funds was allocated via cooperative agreements, research grants, and research contracts to academic institutions. About $4.2 million of this money was allocated to basic research and $7.5 million to applied research. FS funded 21 research grants for $1.4 million (personal communication, R. Guldin, Forest Service Research, USDA). FS does not have a specific program for newly independent investigators. Cooperative State Research Service CSRS supports basic and applied investigator-initiated research through the National Research Initiative Competitive Grants Program (NRICGP), formerly the Competitive Research Grants Office. This is a highly competitive program, with success rates that are below those common at NIH. In the NRICGP, success rates of 10–18% have been common in such disciplines as weed science, entomology, and plant pathology. Somewhat higher success rates have been the norm for plant molecular biology, plant genetics, and research on domestic animals. The average NRICGP grant is for about $55,000 per year for 2 years. The small size and short duration of these grants severely limit the research scope and complexity of projects. There are no data as to the number or size of NRICGP grants that have been made to newly independent investigators in academic institutions, federal laboratories, or industry. No special programs have been created for newly independent investigators. At a time when approximately 25% of agricultural scientists are over 50 years old, compared with 20% of all other scientists, and a shortage of agricultural researchers looms, support for plant and domestic-animal research has decreased, and this will continue to decrease the ability of universities to recruit qualified students in these fields. Data compiled by NSF indicate that scant funding of basic plant sciences has been pervasive for many years and that, in fact, over the decade
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The Funding of Young Investigators in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences 1976–1986, the total amount of money available for this subject averaged only about $135 million per year, including all amounts awarded by NIH, NSF, the Department of Energy (DOE), and USDA (130). From 1986 to 1989, there was a small increase in funding, owing in part to the creation of three plantscience centers jointly funded by NSF, DOE, and USDA, but the total never exceeded $150 million per year (113). National Research Initiative1 The underfunding of plant sciences was one of the major arguments presented in 1989 by the National Research Council's Board on Agriculture report Investing in Research: A Proposal to Strengthen the Agricultural, Food, and Environmental System, which described the National Research Initiative (43). That report concluded that for this country to remain competitive in the agricultural sciences, a minimum of $500 million should be made available annually for basic and applied research in plant and animal systems. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) adopted the report's recommendations and included a substantial increase (up to $100 million) in the amount available for NRICGP in the president's budget for FY 1991. In spite of a tight budget, Congress increased the amount allocated to NRICGP, nearly doubling the budget from $42 million to $73 million in 1991 and then increasing it to $97.5 million in 1992. Those increases are well below what OMB recommended, however, and funds are still seriously inadequate to cover the greatly expanded responsibilities of NRICGP. It is OMB's plan to recommend increases of $50 million per year until a total of $500 million is reached. The program is expected to be funded at $130 million in 1994. If Congress continues to support the NRICGP, it should be able to strengthen existing programs, expand into previously neglected fields, and provide more substantial, longer-term grants. Equally important, newly independent investigators could look forward to increased success rates and increased support. For example, the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 (67) specifies that fully 25% of all new funding for research in agriculture should be devoted to providing fellowships and grants to ''investigators who are beginning their research careers,'' further described as "individuals who have less than 5 years of post-graduate experience." Increased funding should allow the creation of a specific grant program for 1 Data in this section were obtained through personal communication with Arthur Kelman, NRICGP and USDA.
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The Funding of Young Investigators in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences newly independent investigators. In addition, all grants should include postdoctoral appointments as an important means of attracting scientists in a wide range of fields into agricultural research. The recommendations for the National Research Initiative included direct support for fundamental research by individuals and multidisciplinary teams (70%), support for mission-oriented, applied research (20%), and support designed to improve the research capability in academic institutions and departments that aspire to, but have not attained, nationally recognized research and development capacity (10%). No funds were recommended for expansion or renovation of facilities. A 14% cap on indirect costs (overhead) instituted by USDA at the direction of Congress will make it impossible for institutions to provide the infrastructure necessary to rebuild strong research facilities (3). If the full $500 million is appropriated by Congress without a change in this cap and without construction funds, many of the new research positions might be unattractive to newly independent scientists who would not have the necessary research facilities. A 1992 report of the National Research Council, Plant Biology Research and Training for the 21st Century, recommended that support for plant-biology research be increased and that a National Institute of Plant Biology be established in USDA. The report expressed particular concern for the training and funding of the next generation of plant scientists and drew attention to the need to provide the funding necessary to attract and retain the best investigators. Formula-Funding System An additional important source of USDA funding of newly independent investigators in plant and animal sciences is the so-called formula funds. Those funds are made available to individual states via the 1887 Hatch Act, which created the state agricultural experiment stations, and the McIntire-Stennis Cooperative Forestry Act. They are substantial ($212 million in FY 1991) and are distributed to individual experiment-station directors on the basis of a complex formula that takes account of population, agricultural acreage, and other factors. At one time, formula funds were the main source of support for applied agricultural research, but increased costs and demands at individual stations have resulted in a system that supports relatively small projects at modest levels. Use of the funds for staff salaries is also increasing. Experiment-station directors have complete control of the funds, and their systems for distributing them vary widely. Some stations set up a competitive
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The Funding of Young Investigators in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences system in which funds are provided to the faculty on the basis of project evaluations by committees made up of local scientists. At other stations, distribution of the funds is decided by the land-grant college's dean or the experiment station's director. At most, if not all, stations, formula funds are an important element in startup packages for new staff scientists. A sample of reports from some 20 station directors who replied to an informal survey indicates that an average of about 20% of formula funds is used to support newly independent investigators. Startup packages range from $20,000 to $150,000 per investigator; grants to newly independent investigators for research projects range from $12,000 to $20,000 per year. Those are important sums; and in plant sciences it is evident that formula funds are one of the most important sources of support for newly independent investigators. However, although formula funds have shown steady, yearly increases in total dollars, they have not kept pace with inflation or with the increased needs for agricultural research in many states. In addition to providing startup packages, formula funds have been used as seed money for exploratory projects in applied biology. The results of such projects have provided the basis for proposals from both newly independent and established investigators to granting agencies. Also, important subjects like plant breeding, which are highly applied and difficult to fund in the present competitive granting systems, traditionally have been supported by formula funds. The USDA budget has also been the traditional source of "special research grants" that fund numerous research projects throughout the country. These grants appear year after year in congressional budgets, in spite of frequent criticisms from research scientists and others who view them as "pork barrel" politics (37). Most of these grants are direct appropriations by Congress to state institutions, but some are administered as competitive grants. Examples of competitive grants are in the Animal Health Program and the Aquaculture Program, both administered by CSRS. Similarly, ARS provides funds for commodity-oriented research at different experiment stations, and some of these funds are administered on a competitive basis. The competitive programs are small and have generally had a modest impact on the support of research by newly independent investigators.
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The Funding of Young Investigators in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION2 NSF has a broad mission to support basic science and engineering research and education, as reflected in its seven directorates, which are listed in Table 3-1. Table 3-1 NSF Budget, FY 1992 Directorate Millions of Dollars Biological Sciences 271.3 Computer and Information Sciences and Engineering 215.2 Education and Human Resources 487.5 Engineering 261.1 Geosciences 379.8 Mathematical and Physical Sciences 619.9 Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences 89.5 Total 2,324.3 Source: AAAS (2). 2 In this section, data not otherwise attributed were obtained through personal communication with NSF personnel L. Parker and V. Ross, Office of Planning and Assessment, P. Werner, Directorate for Biological Sciences, and M. Cavanaugh, Division of Chemistry.
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The Funding of Young Investigators in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences The mandate of NSF in the biological sciences overlaps that of NIH in basic molecular, developmental, and cell biology. In other fields of the life sciences, NSF occupies a unique funding niche; it is the only federal agency that supports research in many fields (134). NSF estimated that it supplies 95% of the federal funding for research in anthropology at universities and research institutions, 75% in environmental biology, 95% in systematics, 50% in plant biology, 55% in basic social sciences, and 66% in economics (127). In general, it does not fund health-related research (40,121). The recognition of the important role of NSF in supporting basic science and engineering research was underscored by the Bush Administration's initiative to double the NSF budget by 1993. Much of the funding of biological research is supported through the Biological Sciences (BIO) directorate, although NSF encourages cross-disciplinary research. BIO is made up of four divisions; these are listed in Table 3-2 with their expenditures in FY 1992 (2). Table 3-2 NSF Biological Sciences Directorate Budget, FY 1992 Division Millions of Dollars Biological Instrumentation and Resources 41.1 Environmental Biology 71.7 Integrative Biology and Neural Sciences 76.4 Molecular and Cellular Biosciences 82.1 Total 271.3 Source: AAAS (2). Granting Vehicles at Nsf In 1993, 49% of NSF research funds was expended to support small research projects of less than $250,000; the remainder supported groups, centers, and large facilities (114,121,124). Group research grants (medium-
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The Funding of Young Investigators in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences size grants) support coordinated research by four or more principal investigators, and center grants support complex, large-scale research efforts for a long duration. Those two kinds of projects usually require special facilities and interdisciplinary collaboration (136). Of the 11 NSF-funded centers, the two in the life sciences-the Center for Development of an Integrated Protein and Nucleic Acid Biotechnology and the Center for Microbial Ecology-account for 1.7% of the BIO research budget. In addition, a plant-science center has been created that focuses on plant molecular biology. Facility funds support large research resources, such as ocean-going ships, and multiuser national research facilities, such as the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Between 1989 and 1993, the funds invested in medium-size and large grants increased far more rapidly than those for small grants. Medium-size grants increased from $236.5 million to $429.9 million (a 82% increase), large grants from $550.7 million to $908.9 million (a 65% increase), facility support from $355.2 million to $397.2 million (a 12% increase), and small grants from $1,003 million to $1,283 million (a 28% increase). The consequence of this trend was a 7% drop in the percentage of the total budget committed to small grants (124). However, the total number of competitive proposals-a measure of the demand for funds-increased by 9% over that same period. The Individual Investigator Research Grant is the most common vehicle for support of research at NSF. In current dollars, the median annual active research project (including direct and indirect costs) grew from $49,000 in 1983 to $63,000 in 1993. When converted to constant 1993 dollars, that translates into a decline from $69,000 to $63,000. Unlike NIH R01 research grants, the duration of NSF grants remained roughly constant at 2 years in the decade from 1983 to 1993. The peer-review system at NSF is coordinated by program officers in the directorates. In most instances, standing peer-review panels evaluate proposals with extensive input from ad hoc outside reviewers. Ad hoc committees are used in special circumstances. The proposals are judged on the basis of researcher competence, intrinsic merit of the research, utility or relevance of the research, and potential effect of the research on the infrastructure of science and engineering (120). Although newly independent investigators compete directly with established investigators for research funding, young investigators tend to fare well at NSF. In fact, many young scientists view NSF as the first agency to apply to and, having gained success and experience through NSF, apply to other agencies (113,127). NSF has a reputation of being responsive to new ideas and of having some administrative
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The Funding of Young Investigators in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences flexibility; both characteristics are appealing to newly independent investigators. With minor exceptions, the number of competitively reviewed individual-investigator proposals at NSF progressively increased from about 17,000 (FY 1983) to 30,000 (FY 1993) while the number of awards made annually increased from 6,500 (FY 1983) to 9,000 (FY 1993). Thus, the overall success rate decreased from 38% in FY 1983 to 30% in FY 1993 (with a minimum of 28% in FY 1988). However, the NSF-wide success rate does not reflect the extremely low funding rates in specific programs, particularly in BIO. The success rate in BIO has been consistently lower than the overall NSF rate-rates of 25% or less occurred in important biological programs in FY 1993. In FY 1993, 32% of the awards went to support scientists who had not been funded in the preceding 5 years. The average success rate for all of NSF over 1983–1993 for investigators who completed their Ph.D. within 7 years of applying for the grant was 28%. The success rate increased progressively with age up to 40% for those who received Ph.D.s more than 22 years earlier. As the committee noted with respect to similar data from NIH, the older cohort was a group of seasoned and tested investigators, so its higher success rate is not altogether surprising. Young Investigator Awards In 1984, NSF created its first award designed specially for young investigators, the Presidential Young Investigator (PYI) award. Its goals were to increase the attractiveness of academic careers in engineering and computer science, to promote research funding by the private sector, and to foster cooperation between academe and industry. The program has expanded to include other fields supported by NSF research grants. In 1990, 211 awards were given, 26 of them in BIO (119). The success rate of applicants in BIO was only 7%. The small number of these awards has resulted in their being viewed as honorific; indeed, applicants are not free to apply, but must be nominated by their supporting institutions (123). PYI applications are separately reviewed by the research directorates on the basis of an abbreviated research proposal and letters of recommendation. The funds are not set aside, but rather are derived from the research budgets of the NSF directorates. A PYI award is a 5-year grant, which is unusually long for an NSF grant, with a guarantee of $25,000 per year; funds can be secured from nongovernment organizations and matched by NSF to increase the award size
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The Funding of Young Investigators in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences up to $100,000 per year. Although finding matching funds can be difficult and can be perceived as competing with a supporting institution's fund-raising efforts, one of the PYI program goals is to foster university-industry interaction. Involvement by the supporting institution is secured by requiring that it guarantee the recipient's academic-year salary and provide a portion of the indirect costs (only 10% of NSF funds can be used to defray indirect costs) (119). The PYI program was reviewed for its effectiveness by NSF in cooperation with Westat, Inc. (122,151). In a study of the first two "classes" of awardees (FY 1984 and FY 1985), it was concluded that although the award promotes the careers of recipients, some of the features-specifically the matching requirement and the nomination process-were disadvantages. On September 17, 1991, President Bush announced a new NSF program, the Presidential Faculty Fellows Program. It called for only 30 awardees, with each to receive a 5-year grant totaling $500,000. No more than two nominations per academic institution are accepted, and matching funds are not required (38). The new program was created at the expense of the PYI program, and the PYI program was renamed the NSF Young Investigators Program. In the FY 1992 budget request, BIO also included a $3.8 million setaside for a program to support newly independent investigators. The program awards 40–50 grants of $50,000–60,000 per year (direct costs) over a 5-year period (127). The goals of this setaside, with those of the PYI awards and the Presidential Faculty Fellows Program, represent an appropriate concern on the part of NSF for young investigators. In March 1994, as the committee was preparing this report for publication, NSF's National Science Board approved the initiation of the Faculty Early Career Development Award (CAREER) program. The program will incorporate several existing NSF programs aimed at young investigators, including the NSF Young Investigators Awards, Research Initiation Awards, and Minority Research Initiation Research Awards. Applicants for the CAREER program will generally be within 4 years of their initial appointment, and applications will be judged on the basis of a career plan, including research, teaching, and outreach components. Awards will be for 3–5 years at a funding level appropriate to the discipline. Depending on program decisions that will be made at NSF divisional levels, the program could support a larger number of persons than have been supported under the previous programs.
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The Funding of Young Investigators in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences The NSF Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) is designed to cultivate research and development efforts in regions of the country that have been traditionally less competitive in obtaining funding (121). Several institutions in the participating states have cited the EPSCoR program as an important source of funds for newly independent investigators and established researchers. State EPSCoR committees are formed to develop proposals submitted to NSF. Once an effort is funded, a local institution is designated as the financial agent and disburses funds to the participating investigators. The program is currently operating in 16 states. The program has a cost-sharing requirement; NSF has invested about $52 million and the participating states over $156 million in this program (135). OTHER AGENCIES The Departments of Energy, Defense, Commerce, and the Interior and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration support life-science research, although in no case is it the primary research mission. Although the overall budgets for programs in life-science research are not large, they are often the only source of federal support for these endeavors. Thus, they are crucial to the careers of many life-science investigators. Department of Energy3 The Department of Energy (DOE) is the fourth largest source of federal funds (after the Department of Health and Human Services, DOD, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration) for basic and applied research (see Figure 3-1). Its original commitment to life-science research, which now accounts for less than 10% of its total research budget in basic research, arose from the pressing need to understand the impact of radiation on biological systems after World War II. Radiation biology remains one of DOE's primary research missions, but it has expanded its research agenda to include mammalian genetics, genome organization and function, structural biology, and environmental sciences. Much of the effort is focused on intramural programs at the large DOE National Laboratories at Brookhaven, Oak Ridge, Los Alamos, and Berkeley, although DOE also maintains an external grants program. 3 In this section, data not otherwise attributed were obtained through personal communication with R. Rabson, Division of Energy Biosciences, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, and B. Burrier, DOE.
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The Funding of Young Investigators in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences The external grants program is administered through the Office of Energy Research (OER) (75–78). Usually, submitted proposals are peer-reviewed by ad hoc volunteer committees. In FY 1991, the Division of Energy Biosciences of OER supported 887 research grants for a total of $24.7 million. The average grant was funded for 3 years with a total annual cost (direct and indirect) of about $80,000. The Ecological Research Division provided $8.1 million for terrestrial ecological research, of which $2.2 million supported theoretical ecology (79). About 75% of the $2.2 million went to support ecological research in universities. DOE has no special programs for newly independent biological scientists, so young investigators must compete directly with senior investigators. Only one in five proposals submitted to OER was funded in FY 1991. Department of Defense4 DOD, through its own research offices and those of the individual services, supports research in diverse disciplines, including life sciences, psychology, physical sciences, environmental sciences (nonbiological), mathematics and computer sciences, and engineering. About $128.4 million of the basic-research budget is expended in the life sciences. The research offices of each service operate independently of each other, but there are attempts to coordinate overlapping research interests (32,71). About half of basic research supported by DOD takes place at universities; the remainder is supported at government, industrial, nonprofit, and contract laboratories. Research is generally funded by grants to individual investigators. The only program that targets newly independent investigators is administered by the Office of Naval Research (ONR). Army Research Office. With an annual research budget of $2 million, the Army Research Office supports five to 10 new research grants in the biological sciences each year (63,64). These 3-year grants are funded on a competitive basis, with newly independent investigators competing directly with established scientists. Biomedical research is supported primarily through the Army Medical Research and Development Command, which awards contracts and grants to organizations, rather than individuals. Only one in five applications is funded, with annual budgets of about $100,000. 4 In this section, data that are not otherwise attributed were obtained through personal communication with J.W. Cutting, Office of the Director of Defense Research and Engineering, and W.D. Hein, Department of the Army.
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The Funding of Young Investigators in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences Office of Naval Research. ONR provides the majority of the funding for basic research in the Navy. The administration of programs is organized in four directorates: Mathematical and Physical Sciences, Ocean Sciences, Engineering Sciences, and Life Sciences. Of the various mechanisms used to support research, individual research contracts to industry and grants to nonprofit institutions predominate. ONR has the only grant program within DOD that specifically targets newly independent investigators (143,144). The Young Investigator Program is designed ''to identify and support young scientists and engineers who show exceptional promise for doing creative research. The objectives of this program are to attract outstanding young university faculty members to the Navy's research program, to support their research, and to encourage their teaching and research careers'' (142). "Young" is defined as having received a Ph.D. within 5 years of the fellowship granting date and is not tied to age (138–142). The grants are for $75,000 per year (direct and indirect costs) for 3 years. A 2-for-1 matching program allows the grant size to increase by $75,000 if funds are obtained from other Navy sources to supplement the ONR grant. The applicants' institutions must recommend them for the award and must guarantee a long-term commitment to the applicants by providing partial support for their research needs or salary. Young Investigator grant recipients can apply for continuing research support through the Research Program Department (138–142). Although it is an excellent model, the ONR Young Investigator Program is small, especially in the life sciences. In FY 1990, 297 proposals were received, of which 13 were funded, two in the life sciences (141). In FY 1991, 15 of 316 proposals were funded; again, only two were in the life sciences (142). Air Force Office of Scientific Research. The Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) supports both graduate-student and faculty research programs. Although it lacks a separate young-investigator program, it sponsors a single new-investigator award (for 1 year and $61,750) administered by the Society of Toxicology (57). A summer research program for faculty and graduate students is also available through AFOSR (147). The stated goals of the program are "to develop the basis for continuing research of interest to the Air Force at the faculty member's institution," "to stimulate continuing relations among faculty members and their professional peers in the Air Force," and "to enhance the research interests and capabilities of science engineering educators in technical areas of interest to the Air Force." A substantial portion of the roughly 150 participants are assistant and associate professors. After taking part in the program, the participants can
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The Funding of Young Investigators in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences submit a Research Initiation Program proposal, which if funded provides $20,000 plus cost-sharing for 1 year. Proposals may also be submitted to AFOSR in response to a Broad Agency Announcement (9,65). Department of Commerce: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration In FY 1991, the Department of Commerce spent about $449.7 million on basic and applied research. Of this total, $14.8 million supported life-science research and was disbursed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Like many other federal agencies, NOAA does not keep statistics on the age distribution of its funded investigators, and it does not have a formal program specifically for newly independent investigators. NOAA is divided into several line offices, including the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Services; the National Weather Service; the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research; the National Marine Fisheries Service; and the National Ocean Service. Those offices are responsible for the administration of research efforts, a few of which are described here. The National Undersea Research Program (NURP) is part of the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research. It focuses on "research related to processes in the world's oceans and great lakes in order to understand global ecosystems" (109). NURP awarded $9.5 million in grants in 1990 and supported 616 scientists involved in the submersible facilities and network of the National Undersea Research Centers. For the last 9 years, researchers who rely on NURP support have seen funding removed by the Office of Management and Budget and reinstated by Congress (58). Researchers are required to plan long-term research projects in an environment of severe fiscal uncertainty. The National Sea Grant College Program is also part of the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (106). It provides funds to local directors ($40.8 million in FY 1990) that tend to be directed toward continuing, applied projects. There appear to be no special provisions for advancing the careers of newly independent investigators in this program. The local directors of the program indicated that many of the fund recipients are newly independent, although they generally compete with established investigators for funding. The National Estuarine Research Reserve System is part of the National Ocean Service (107,108). Research proposals are evaluated strictly on the basis of technical merit, and no provisions are made for promoting newly independent investigators. In FY 1990, $700,000 was available for research;
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The Funding of Young Investigators in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences this was reduced to $400,000 in FY 1991 to increase land acquisitions for field programs. National Aeronautics and Space Administration5 In FY 1991, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) spent about $1.7 billion on basic research; of that amount, $47 million was devoted to the basic life sciences. NASA funds extramural life-science research through the Life Sciences Division of the Office of Space Science and Applications. The Life Sciences Division supports scientific research and enabling technologies in the fields of operational medicine, biomedicine, space biology, biospherics, exobiology, and controlled ecological life-support systems. Research funds can be obtained through the NASA Specialized Centers of Research and Training (NSCORT) program or the investigator-initiated competitive grants program (84,85). NSCORT proposals are competitively reviewed center grants administered by a local institutional director (85). NSCORT program goals include encouraging interdisciplinary research; providing long-term, stable funding to the research community; and involving students, research scientists, and engineers from academe and the public and private sectors. A NSCORT proposal contains a set of interactive, independent research projects that are evaluated on the basis of scientific merit, relevance to the NASA mission, and cost. Institutions are funded on an annual basis—not to exceed total indirect and direct costs of $1 million per year—for 5 years. In 1990, three centers were funded after the evaluation of 47 proposals; in 1991, three centers were funded after the evaluation of 13 proposals. NASA also funds individual research projects through a competitive peer-review process. Proposals are generally funded on an annual basis for up to 3 years. In FY 1991, the average grant was funded at $87,000. In FY 1991, the Life Sciences Division supported 370 new and continuing grants. Department of the Interior Within the Department of the Interior (DOI), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Mines, the Bureau of Reclamation, the Minerals Management Service (MMS), the National Park 5 In this section, data not otherwise attributed were obtained through personal communication with F.M. Sulzman, NASA.
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The Funding of Young Investigators in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences Service, and the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) support basic or applied life-science research. In 1991, DOI spent about $229 million in support of basic research and $324 million for applied research (128). U.S. Geological Survey. In 1990, USGS awarded $1.3 million in applied life-science research (128). Its Water Resources Research Grant Program supports research on biological processes in natural water resource systems (81,82). It is interested in applications emphasizing "influences of microbial processes on water quality and biogeochemical cycling as applied to hydrologic systems; interactions between both physical and chemical hydrologic processes and the ecological characteristics of water systems; pollutant effects on species and populations of aquatic organisms in natural systems of differing hydrologic character; applications of biotechnology to water resources in natural systems; and control of pathogenic or parasitic organisms in natural water systems and the fate of disease-causing chemicals in such systems" (83). Successful applicants must have acceptable matching nonfederal funds (on a 1:1 basis) committed at the time their applications are submitted to USGS. USGS funds are not designated for newly independent investigators, and the matching requirement probably restricts access to more experienced investigators. Minerals Management Service. MMS is responsible for the conduct of environmental studies of the outer continental shelf. In 1992, Environmental Studies Program funding is about $21.7 million. Most studies are performed by contractors to DOI; no program identifying or selectively favoring newly independent investigators appears to exist. Fish and Wildlife Service. FWS was responsible for the disbursement of $6.2 million in basic research in 1991 (128). FWS supports the operation of 41 regionally administered Cooperative Research Units, which are cooperatively funded by various federal and state agencies through FWS (35). Each unit is headed by three scientists who are FWS employees. Although newly independent scientists can be hired by FWS, no special programs exist to promote research initiated by newly independent investigators.
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The Funding of Young Investigators in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences NONFEDERAL FUNDING OF BASIC BIOLOGICAL RESEARCH INDUSTRY A review of private-sector research funding was provided in the National Research Council report Investing in Research: A Proposal to Strengthen the Agricultural, Food, and Environmental System (43). In summary, biological research in the private sector occurs chiefly in agriculture-based companies, at a level estimated at $2.1 billion per year. There is wide variation among corporations in the magnitude of funding for their research efforts. About 4–5% of total sales is reinvested in agricultural research and development, in contrast with the 7–10% of total sales reinvested in biomedical research and development by all pharmaceutical firms worldwide. (Reinvestment by U.S. pharmaceutical firms is even higher-some 16% of total sales.) About two-thirds of private-sector research and development is carried out by agricultural-input industries and one-third by firms engaged in the postharvest processing and marketing of food products (43). Funding is provided for research on plants and animals, including crop breeding and management, plant protection and nutrition, and livestock. There is also research support for mechanization and postharvest process improvement. Although some of the applications of the research will be in the development of human and animal pharmaceuticals, most are for food or manufacturing process improvements (43). PHILANTHROPY The majority of funds for life-science research spent by philanthropies is provided by independent foundations; company-sponsored and community foundations provide substantially less support. Private-foundation support for the biological sciences is less than that for the biomedical sciences. However, recent trends indicate that might change. Private foundations are finding it increasingly difficult to define a niche for themselves in the biomedical sciences and are turning to subjects in the biological sciences that have been traditionally underfunded by the federal government. There is a new emphasis on developing and supporting programs in conservation and the environment. For example, the Pew Scholars Program in Conservation and the Environment (for early-career to midcareer scholars), established in 1988, provides $150,000 over 3 years for up to 10 conservation scholars a year (51). Another sign of the shift is seen in the funds awarded by private foundations in 1989: $114 million for medical research (a decline of $15.7 million from 1988) and $69.4 million for biological research (an increase of $18.4 million
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The Funding of Young Investigators in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences from 1988). Both the total funds expended and the number of grants funded in medical research declined, whereas the total funds in biological sciences increased, although the absolute number of grants declined by 86. In 1989, 1,737 grants for $128.7 million were awarded to support environmental research (including both physical and biological research) and 321 grants for $31.1 million to support animal and wildlife research (20). ACADEMIC INSTITUTIONS The support available to investigators in biological sciences from academic institutions is similar to that described for biomedical sciences in Chapter 2. Biological scientists are assisted by formula-fund mechanisms, such as the 1887 Hatch Act and the National Sea Grant College Program, and by NURP funds, which are under the control of local institutional directors. It is common for these funds to be used to provide salary and some modest research support. Although newly independent investigators are rarely singled out for special attention, these funds are critical to the operation of many biological research departments.
Representative terms from entire chapter: