I cannot help wondering if Robert L. Park has a sour grape or two stuck in his craw ["Science's Unhealthy `Pork,' " letters, Sept. 7]. The reason it is undesirable to concentrate all or most research-grant funds in a few large institutions is that research grants are the mainstay of postgraduate education. By limiting grants to large research centers, many fine graduate programs would be left out in the cold. Furthermore, good research, contrary to Mr. Park's view, is not the exclusive property of big universities. The fact that an institution is small does not mean that it is "ill-equipped to use [research funds]."

Mr. Park is completely off the mark in suggesting that "research projects often are cooked up between greedy university administrators and highly paid lobbyists with little or no scientific background." In my 30 years at both larger and smaller institutions, I have never heard of such a scenario. As to his allegation that universities may not spend the money for the designated purpose, all I can say is that over the years I have been obliged to submit innumerable written justifications for requested expenditure of grant funds outside the original approved budget.

Perhaps things are different in the world of physics research, but Mr. Park's letter in no way reflects my experience in biomedical research supported by the National Institutes of Health.


Silver Spring

The writer is an associate professor of human genetics and deputy director of the Howard University Center for Sickle Cell Disease.