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Scientists Who Serve

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Oct. 30 news story "NIH's New Ethics Rules Lead Some to Ponder Jumping Ship" sounded the alarm that restrictions on outside income may cause the best and the brightest of the National Institutes of Health's researchers to retire or leave for academia, which has more lenient rules on moonlighting.

But NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni cast doubt on this conclusion in a recent memorandum he sent to NIH staff members. He told the NIH employees that data last year indicate there has "not been a change in the rate of resignations or retirements among NIH scientists over the past several years."

Clearly some researchers at NIH want the extra pay of private consulting on top of a full-time NIH salary, which for some exceeds $150,000. If they leave, they could be replaced by scientists more dedicated to public service.

NED FEDER

Investigator

Project on Government Oversight

Washington

The writer is a former NIH scientist.

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