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Research Funds Cut Gives Scientists a Bleak Year

By Jeffrey D. Blum

Many Harvard scientists will have in effect up to 20 per cent fewer funds for this year's research projects.

The loss is due to a cut in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants and the effect of inflation.

The NIH, which last year reduced its grants by 10 per cent, administers health research and basic science projects across the nation. It supplies approximately two-thirds of the funds of Harvard's Institute of Public Health and the Medical School.

Lean Years

William L. Claff '39, assistant dean for financial affairs at the Institute of Public Health, said, "This is only the second of seven lean years-the cuts will ultimately result in a reduction of staff." Claff recently visited Washington D.C. to investigate the funds situation.

"This doesn't mean just research assistants and staff but maybe even junior faculty people, who are on term contracts which will come up in two to four years," Claff added.

Henry C. Meadow, associate dean of the faculty of medicine for financial affairs, was not as concerned about the effects of the cut on the Medical School, which has more resources to offset the reductions.

Not Catastrophic

"The cuts will not be catastrophic, although we will have to do more planning and belt-tightening," Meadow said. "But I really can't see that it will be traumatic."

Richard J. Olendzki, assistant dean for financial affairs at the Medical School, added, "Although we don't know how much the cuts will be exactly, it's obviously going to hurt and we're anxious about it." Olendzki said, "Optimistically, we'll be able to absorb much of the cut's effect."

Lawrence Bogorad, professor of Biology, said the cut will "affect the way in which people can be trained in science," since many Ph.D. candidates receive critical training from NIH-funded research projects. He emphasized that "we're not likely to be affected in terms of simply supporting them."

The cuts may limit "the kinds of things that can be done-it could end up beingvery serious," Bogorad said. He explained that much of the equipment used in natural sciences research is very expensive to purchase and maintain, and that the funds used for these purposes come directly from research grants.

"Most research grant training goes to graduate and undergraduate students-it's really a big training operation," he said.

The Department of Health, Education, and Welfare directed the NIH to make the cuts because of the heavy drain of the Vietnam war on Federal resources and accompanying inflationary pressures.

Although NIH usually sets the amount of grants for each project individually, HEW officials have-ordered an across-the-board five percent cut in continuing projects and a ten percent one for new projects. Inflation has increased the expense of research about ten percent over last year.

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