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Oncology Times:
doi: 10.1097/01.COT.0000419322.63921.21
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American Society of Hematology Commits $9 Million for ‘Bridge Grants’ for Members Affected by NIH Budget Cuts

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The American Society of Hematology has announced a program to provide bridge-grant funding to members whose research would not be able to be accomplished due to the NIH funding reductions for biomedical research. The program, which commits $9 million over three years, is designed, a news release notes, to help bridge a gap created by nearly a decade of flat funding for the National Institutes of Health followed by further projected cuts.

“Every year we brace for the possibility that the NIH budget will be cut, but this time it is different,” said ASH President Armand Keating, MD, of Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto. “The threat of reduced biomedical research funding over the long term is very real, and the devastating effects will be felt for the next decade or more.”

The ASH bridge grants will provide 30 one-year awards annually of $100,000 each to support researchers in basic, clinical, or translational hematology who applied for an NIH R01 grant but were denied funding due to budget cutbacks.

There will be two award cycles per year; the first application deadline is January 4, 2013, and applicants will be notified of acceptance about March 31, 2013. ASH notes that it is currently seeking support from individual and corporate donors in order to provide additional awards.

“We are extremely proud to have established this program for members who have committed their careers to hematology research, but more needs to be done at the federal level to preserve funding for NIH,” said ASH President-Elect Janis Abkowitz, MD, who co-chaired (with ASH Committee on Scientific Affairs Chair Robert Hromas, MD) the task force that developed the award.

In conjunction with that, ASH also launched a campaign to urge people to contact their Senators and Representative about the importance of supporting biomedical research. “It is our hope,” Keating said, “that the announcement of ASH's new award program will help raise awareness of the dire consequences that cuts to federal funding of biomedical research will have for the nation's health and economy, and inspire individuals as well as other medical organizations to take action.”

Further information is available at http://www.hematology.org/bridgegrants

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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