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Officials at the federal agency that funds medical research Thursday scrapped a controversial plan to free up money for young researchers by capping the amount of grant money it gives to individual labs.

The proposal by the National Institutes of Health — which last year handed out nearly $25 billion in research awards to universities and hospitals across the country — came under fire from senior scientists who run labs that stood to lose funding.


In its place, the NIH will establish new policies to boost support for early-career lab heads — called principal investigators — including moves to give higher priority to first-time grant applicants and labs losing NIH support as well as mid-career scientists seen as “rising stars.”

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