Science budgets are tight all over, and we’re all stretched thin. Where to make budget cuts that will harm science the least? Here’s a sensible proposal: cut all the programs that have a bad track record and don’t support good science:
Here’s my proposal: save over $240 million per year in the NIH budget by cutting all funding for the two centers that fund alternative medicine research–the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) and the Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine (OCCAM). Both of them exist primarily to promote pseudoscience. For the current year, NCCAM’s budget is $128.8 million, an amount that has rapidly grown from $2 million in 1992, despite the fact that not a single “alternative” therapy supported by NCCAM has proven beneficial to health. OCCAM’s budget was $121 million in 2008 (the latest I could find) and presumably higher in 2010. That’s over $240M, not counting money these programs got from the stimulus package (and yes, they did get some stimulus funding).
Wow, a simple decision that save NIH by $240 million. How can they not go for it?
We can also get local. The University of Minnesota is also hurting for money. Our dear president Bruininks sent out a budget message this past spring talking about diminishing state support and saying that “we must continue to set clear priorities and invest our resources accordingly. Instead of trimming the budgets of working departments, why not kill our university boondoggle, The Center for Spirituality and Healing? We’re throwing away money on quackery right now.