Jan 4, 2013

In the US, who decides what cancer research is funded and how much funding each project receives?

There is no single authority that allocates cancer research funding.  Each funder has a process.  The largest source of funding for research is the National Institutes of Health which uses a peer-review process.  Panels of researchers review and rank research proposals.  This is probably the best process we have.  It is independent and invites the best thinkers to drive it.  Sometimes this process does, however, end up emphasizing funding for ideas that fit well with today’s thinking.  Unconventional ideas may not always be appreciated by peer scientists.  The pharmaceutical industry is the other large source of funding.  It allocates funding largely based on it’s view of market opportunities for new drugs, although industry also provides funding for independent research.  Many private foundations, and government agencies other than the National Cancer Institute are also important.  They generally follow the peer-review process or some variation on it.

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(c) 2012 Tom Beer and Larry Axmaker

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