Issues: Knee-Capping Excellence

This past spring, the Trump administration’s fiscal year 2018 budget had little good news for the nation’s biomedical research enterprise. Prominent among areas targeted for deep cuts, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) faced a threatened 22% reduction in its funding—$7.7 billion less in appropriations than the previous year.

Such a draconian action was dismissed upon arrival on Capitol Hill, and steps were taken to shore up overall NIH funding. But buried within the administration’s accompanying budget documents, and receiving far less attention, was a seemingly arcane change in the way NIH supports extramural research, by capping grant funding for indirect costs—also known as facilities and administrative (F&A) costs—at 10% of total research costs.

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