It is no surprise to most of us that a huge chunk of the funding for neuroscience and animal behavioral research comes from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The Trump Administration proposed cutting NIH’s 2018 budget by about $5.8 billion compared to 2017 levels to about $25.9 billion, a 16.2% cut in spending power!! Fortunately, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle recognize and appreciate the value of NIH research. As a result, as part of the 2017 stopgap funding bill (the “Continuing Resolution”), Congress not only eliminated the proposed $8 billion deficit, but increased the funding by about $4 billion! Hooray!!
On May 17, 2017 NIH Dir. Francis S Collins testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services (LHHS) in a hearing titled The Transformative Power of Biomedical Research. In his testimony, Dir. Collins gave important clues about things going on NIH that will affect your ability to get research money, whether as an experienced researcher or a researcher just beginning your career and also about areas of need and opportunity. Highlights of Dir. Collins’ testimony include:
- NIH is preparing to limit the amount of NIH support going to any one PI
- “NIH is preparing to implement a new measure to allow a broader number of meritorious investigators, particularly those in early-and mid—career, to receive NIH funding through new and renewed grants. … We are … proposing to work with NIH grant applicants and their institutions to limit the total NIH support that any one principal investigator may receive to research currently funded by NIH, allowing NIH funds to be more broadly distributed.”
- Rare Diseases are an area of Great Need and Great Opportunity
- “Rare diseases also present an area of great need and great opportunity, one which NIH continues to be uniquely positioned to address. … The private sector generally finds it difficult to mount expensive initiatives for such small markets-the risks are too high. Finding new treatments thus requires NIH to play a leading role-by investing in the early stage of therapeutic development to “de-risk” such projects.”
- Director Collins’ priority is to ensure the next generation that NIH will support them
- “If advances in medical research are to continue, if research is to lead to breakthroughs that can reduce healthcare costs, if the considerable economic return on research is to continue, and if America is to continue its global leadership in biomedicine, we need to be sure this next generation has the confidence that there will be support for them. This is a priority for me.”
You can view Dir. Collins' ~11 minute testimony in its entirety here as well as comments and questions by members of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services (LHHS) by clicking the button below.
Kinder Scientific is celebrating its 20th year helping neuroscience and behavior researchers!!