Federal grant awards for medical researchers are likely to be delayed following the federal government shutdown. Last year, the University of Iowa received 362 grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for medical research totaling about $144 million.
Doctor Sue O’Dorisio (OH-door-ee-see-oh) is a professor and medical researcher at UI Hospitals and Clinics. She also sits on a review board for proposed research projects submitted to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), so she knows first-hand why medical research grants are going to take longer to process after the shutdown. “Grants that were submitted in July were supposed to be reviewed the first of October. That was postponed because the NIH and NCI people running the meeting were furloughed,” O’Dorisio says.
Ninety-seven grants in O’Dorisio’s study subsection won’t be reviewed until about 30 physicians from all over the country can meet again in Washington, D.C. “You have a group of 30 people and you have to find a date, often that takes a couple months. I think the people who are sitting on pins and needles are the ones who have grants pending right now,” O’Dorisio says.
In a statement, the National Institutes of Health said hundreds of similar grant review sessions will have to be rescheduled — meaning thousands of researchers will be waiting longer to see if they will receive funding.