|T H E N I H C A T A L Y S T||N O V E M B E R D E C E M B E R 2005|
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PENNY SAVED IS A PENNY
As we get increasingly urgent signals of budget challenges ahead, we must anticipate some belt-tightening. I believe we can get through the lean times the way we got through the parking crunch by unleashing the power of creative problem-solving that NIH has in abundance.
A first step has been identifying our "cost drivers" some of the large targets where administrative changes and a bit more care and cooperation could save money without cutting deeply into research.
Leading this activity was the Intramural Research Budget Working
Group, co-chaired by NIMH Director Tom
Insel and me. We conducted an Analysis of IR Budget Obligations in NIDDK,
NIMH, NCI, NIDA, and NHLBI. http://www.nimh.nih.gov/about/director.cfm
Barbara Merchant, NIDDK Executive Officer, recently presented the group's findings to the Board of Scientific Directors and is scheduling a presentation to NIH's administrative and executive officers.
The group found that the intramural program spends the lion's share of its budget on salaries and benefits, "other services" which includes our contracts and equipment purchases and maintenance.
The group made several good suggestions for administrative changes and flexibility in government hiring and contracting that could generate significant savings in personnel costs if widely adopted.
They pointed to ways to economize on research animal costs and large equipment purchases, including pooling equipment orders and making individual investigators more responsible for
Specifically, we want to make it possible for saved money to stay within the intramural program that saves it. Or, put another way, to assure that a penny saved is indeed a penny earned for your IC's intramural program.
animal use. Equipment maintenance contracts, renovations, and inventory of telephone and data lines are other fertile areas for frugality, the group found.
Multiplied over a large number of interactions, even small savings can yield significant funds. I hope that by modifying some of our administrative approaches and procedures, we can make prudent spending a goal that is in everyone's interest.
Specifically, we want to make it possible for saved money to stay within the intramural program that saves it. Or, put another way, to assure that a penny saved is indeed a penny earned for your IC's intramural program
I'd like NIHers at all levels to help their lab, office, and institute save money and even to look beyond their particular place to NIH as a whole: As you come up with ideas for how to pinch pennies in your program share the wealth and let others know! I will be asking groups across campus to help us spread good ideas for saving money as we clear administrative paths for pooling purchases and cutting maintenance costs.
So think about this, all of you individual labs and offices, administrative and executive officers, lab managers, staff scientists, tenure-track scientists, fellows, scientific interest groups, lab chiefs, scientific directors. Our office will be forming a trans-NIH committee to work on user-friendly administrative approaches to propagating best practices for pinching pennies within the Intramural Research Program.
Deputy Director for Intramural Research
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