The United States is fiercely competing with Communist China in many fields, not the least of which is medical research. China seeks to supplant the U.S. as the global leader in everything from developing vaccines to curing diseases. Remarkably, the U.S. National Institutes of Health has boosted China for years, as Americans learned during the Covid-19 pandemic when it came out that the NIH funded research in Wuhan’s virus lab. Now the NIH has given China another gift by downplaying research excellence in favor of racial equity.
On October 19, the NIH announced a “simplified framework” for “research project grant applications.” Henceforth, when NIH reviewers consider funding a research project, they will no longer grade researchers’ expertise or their institutions’ resources. Instead, they will mark these criteria as “appropriate” or in need of improvement, providing significantly less of the detail that most bears on a project’s likelihood of success. Previously, numerical scores played a decisive role in determining whether a project got funding. Expertise and institutional resources are now the only part of the three-prong review process that does not have a numerical score.
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