We, the faculty of the neurobiology section at the University of Southern California, wish to respond to your front-page article (March 20) on proposed cuts in federal support for biomedical research through the National Institutes of Health.
We feel that the Office of Management and Budget has clearly circumvented the will of our elected representatives by its decision not to fund 1,500 of the 6,500 research grants approved by Congress for 1985. While we are appreciative of the supportive tone of your article, we feel that two points require further comment.
First, you conclude that in the short term, this cutback will have only minor effects on the researchers you profiled, since they are well funded from alternate sources. While this may be true for a few well established laboratories, it is not universally so.
In many labs, especially those run by more junior scientists, the immediate effects could be catastrophic. Because of recent growth in our national commitment to research on neurological diseases, there are at present a large number of young scientists who, after six to 10 years of postgraduate education and training, have begun to make important contributions. Without timely support, many will lose their positions as faculty and staff members at our universities and research institutions.