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Francis Collins Sings ‘Sequester Blues’

Andrew S. Wiecek

With no end for the sequestration in sight, the NIH director is singing the blues. Literally.

Francis Collins, director of the National Institute of Health (NIH), is feeling down. Due to the sequestration that went into effect in March, the NIH budget was cut by 5% for fiscal year 2013, which translates to about $1.55 billion fewer dollars to spend and 700 fewer research grants to be funded by the agency this year. And in the end, that means fewer opportunities for newly minted postdocs and investigators hoping to establish their own research labs.

With no end for the sequestration in sight, the NIH director is singing the blues. Literally. Source: Vimeo

So instead of focusing on leading the agency into the future with projects like the BRAIN Initiative, Collins has been presiding over the “unmitigated disaster” of the sequester, spending his summer lobbying Capitol Hill to reverse the cuts in research funding. Just yesterday, Collins spoke at the John Hopkins Hospital and Medical School, arguing against the across-the-board reductions imposed by the sequester, according to the Baltimore Sun.

Of course, Collins has been doing this with his own unique flare. Although he’s been known to tickle the six strings, his science parodies of carefree country songs such as Jimmy Buffett's “Margaritaville” have usually been reserved for celebrations. But the sequester has had taken its toll on Collins, and now he’s singing the blues.

For the Foundation for the NIH’s 2013 Award Ceremony this May (which he couldn’t attend because of a date with Congress the next morning), Collins recorded this song with the hope of bringing some light to these dark times. So with little hope of the sequester cuts being restored anytime soon, we present Collins singing “Sequester Blues.”

Keywords:  sequester nih funding