With federal biomedical research funding stuck in neutral and the National Institutes of Health unable to sponsor enough young investigators, we are pleased to learn of today’s announcement by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute that it is creating a $600 million program to encourage innovative research.
Fifty-six of the nation’s most creative minds in biomedicine will be paid by HHMI to explore promising new paths in science, even if, and especially if, the research is risky.
It is this kind of research that advances the human condition but also the kind that medical institutions, the private sector and the government may find economically unwise to pursue.
“We identify the best people and then free them up to do what they want to do and to be flexible and change directions and follow their noses into new fields,” Hughes Institute President Thomas R. Cech said in an article in today’s Washington Post.
A list of the awardees is posted on the HHMI site.