The National Institutes of Health (NIH) revised the Public Health Relevance statement required in all grant applications to affirm the importance of basic research. The revision was announced in a March 25 letter to Science authored by NIH Director Francis Collins, MD, PhD, and 39 coauthors across NIH Institute and Centers.
Emphasizing that “basic scientific discovery is the engine that powers the biomedical enterprise,” the letter cites the impact of the discovery of the low-density lipoprotein receptor, the development of CRISPR-associated protein-9 nuclease, and recent advances in structural biology made through cryo-electron microscopy. “For this track record of success to continue, we must continue our vigorous support of the pursuit of fundamental knowledge,” the authors wrote.
In a letter dated April 4, the FASEB thanked Dr. Collins for supporting fundamental research and expressed support for the changes to grant applications instructions. “We share your pride in the tremendous achievements that have arisen from investigator-initiated, NIH-funded basic research,” wrote FASEB President, Parker Antin, PhD. “NIH and its institutes are also to be commended for undertaking rigorous investigations of the grant portfolio and for revising policies when the evidence points to the need for a change,” he said.