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Plunging Grant Application Rates Test NIH's Commitment To Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS)

Wednesday 27 March 2019


From Health Rising:


Graph downward trend
The NIH has failed to re-invigorate or even stop the
decline in the most important source of funding
individual research grant applications.

Fibromyalgia Research Healthy Volunteers Wanted

By Cort Johnson
March 21, 2019
Copyright © 2019 Health Rising.

“We’re saying that ME/CFS is a program priority now…Give us a chance to prove we’re serious – because we are.” Francis Collins

No one could have expected this. The NIH was supposed to reinvigorate ME/CFS research, not watch a vital aspect of it go down the tubes. According to Freedom of Information Act requests (FOIA’s), fewer ME/CFS researchers applied for the fewest individual grants in 2017 (n=8) and 2018 (n=8) in memory.

The individual research grant application problem dwarfs everything. Three small NIH-funded research centers cannot and aren’t meant to carry the load for a disease. The Intramural Study is promising, but is going to take years to complete – and it will need interested researchers to follow up on its findings.

“It is very important to know that the vast majority of NIH funding goes to investigator-initiated grants that be submitted at any time.” Vicky Whittemore

The NIH has a serious problem on its hands. Four years after it said it was committed to reinvigorating this disease, the individual grant applications that basically run the show over there not only aren’t increasing – they’re actually sinking fast. Since most of the NIH’s budget goes to individual-initiated grant applications, that’s a big deal. No disease program can be successful at the NIH without a steady stream of researchers submitting applications.

Grant Applications for ME/CFS

  • 2011 – 20
  • 2012 – 30
  • 2013 – 16
  • 2014 – 18
  • 2015 – 26
  • 2016 – 13
  • 2017 – 8
  • 2018 – 8

It should be noted that the NIH has always complained about the lack of grant applications. They complained about the few applications they were receiving back in 2011 when ME/CFS researchers submitted 20 of them, and in 2015 when 26 researchers applied.


Full article…



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