NIH-ural selection

Eric Hand had an article on yesterday about trends in post-doubling NIH grants. I don’t agree that giving prominent PIs disproportionately large numbers of grants is automatically a bad thing – it depends on the size of the lab’s staff and how productive/important their research strategy, among other concerns. But I was interested by this (emphasis mine):

Zerhouni says that the inequities between the haves and have-nots were caused by a doubling of NIH funding between 1998 and 2003. As funding levels rose, many new PhD positions were created. Established investigators, using data produced by the new PhDs, were able to submit better grant proposals. But hordes of these grant-hungry PhDs were left standing when NIH funding flattened out after 2003. The agency now funds significantly more people over the age of 70 than under the age of 30. “We’re eating our seedcorn,” says Zerhouni.

I graduated in 2003. No comment. . .