How good is the research conducted at the IRIs? A key metric is competition for NIH grants, which has gone from intense to extreme over the past decade. Grants are evaluated on five criteria: potential impact on human health, scientific approach, innovation, investigator expertise, and institutional environment.
The next Administration will face a much greater challenge: Ensuring that Americans live longer lives in good health. If they don't, the cost to the nation will be astronomical, given heavy reliance on Medicare for older Americans and the sad fact that Americans younger than 50 are sicker than people in other wealthy nations.
Unwise austerity policies, including the spending caps established in the Budget Control Act of 2011 and mandatory cuts from sequestration, have damaged significantly the scientific community, threatened American leadership in innovation and possibly delayed the development of treatments that patients' lives depend on.