My 'proposal' was thinking aloud really, considering the implications of the chain that brought us round to the idea that the reason why the excellent proposals aren't been approved is because of the nature of the reviewers. While admitting that the proposal for the designation of special funds makes a lot more sense than what I said earlier, I still wonder about this problem with the reviewers; I haven't yet heard an idea about how to address that, and yet it seems to be the real roadblock. There may perhaps be a rare lesson to be learnt from the UK experience here. The equivalent funding body in the UK is probably the MRC, which has effectively never funded any biomedical research until the £1.6m round a year or two ago (it looks like it will turn out to have been cleverly spread over three years to make a 50% cut look like a 100% increase, but put that aside for a moment). It's never really possible to definitively say which factors were most responsible for a change like this, but the change that occurred then, from psychological research to biomedical research, is hard to dispute, and by the accounts I've heard it seems to have been largely the result of several years of work led by the MEA. That work appears to have focused on the key decision makers, and in particular (this is the relevant bit) on educating the members of the committee that makes the grant decisions; I think there were also one or two key changes to that committee which swung the balance of power. These changes may have been much smaller than we would wish to see, but they resulted in Julia Newton's important funding (nearly £1m of the money went up to Newcastle) and they do appear to be a significant shift. If (big if) the results of that were to begin to stimulate interest amongst researchers, and thus increase confidence in applying for grants, just maybe the pot would expand as that began to happen. At the end of the day, I'm not denying the truth of any of the points that Ember and others have made: it's not good enough that the NIH is still failing to stimulate research and I'm sure it could make this happen if it wanted to. The 'pump-priming' with a ring-fenced pot for ME/CFS research is something that definitely ought to happen. I'm just wondering about a way round the road-blocks. If where we boil down to - as Fletcher's comments seemed to highlight - is that the reason the excellent grants aren't getting approved is that the reviewers just don't get it, the natural question after that is: what can we do about those reviewers? Who appoints them, how are they selected, how can they be educated, etc? Those people will presumably be a roadblock whatever other changes were to come in, and they're probably the roadblock to the recommendations being taken up, so I'm just suggesting that issue might need working on no matter what else happens; a bigger pot that's spent on the wrong kind of research would be no great thing, after all.