FY2003 Federal R & D Budget Analysis
The above is a link to a detailed analysis of the Federal R & D budget for FY2003 and FY2004. Highlights for the FY2003 budget for NIH:
• The FY2003 budget is the last year of the so-called "doubling" of NIH budget promised by Congress which doubled NIH over (1998-2003), adding about 15% per year. Although the FY2003 budget has a 15% increase, the funds are unevenly distributed.
• Bioterrorism is the fastest growing priority. NIH will be spending $1.7 billion on bioterrorism research, which is nearly half of the $3.7 billion increase to NIH. Most of the increase will go to the NIAID (National Institute for Allerlgy and Infectious Disease) which has had a 57% increase in budget to $4.0 billion.
• Cancer is a high priority for the Bush Administration. NIH will be spending $5.5 billion on cancer research with $4.7 billion going to the National Cancer Institute, increasing by 12.2%. Most of the other institutes will receive 8-9% increase.
• AIDS research is the third priority, receiving an increase of $255 million to $2.9 billion, a increase of about 10%.
• The rest of the institutes received 8-9% increases. NINDS (the Neurological Institute) which funds most SCI research received an increase of $112 million (8.4%) to $1.44 billion. NICHD (the Child Health Institute) which funds rehabilitation research and some non-mammalian models received an increase of $101 million (9.0%) to $1.2 billion.
The Veterans Administration research budget which funds some SCI research increased by $49 million to $810 million (6.5%). About half of this budget is devoted to medical and prosthetic research ($409 million). By contrast, the medical care budget is $50 billion.
The National Aerospace and Space Administration (NASA) will get $104 million increase to $15 billion (0.7% increase). The International Space Station will get $1.5 billion, a reduction of 13.3%. About $3.4 billion will be spent on space science, $1.6 billion for earth science, $2.9 billion for aeuronautics research, and $2.9 billion for maintaining the 10 NASA centers. Some of NASA research is relevant to SCI research.
The Department of Commerce has the National Institute for Standards & Technology (NIST) which has a budget of $483 million (an increase of 5%). The NIST has several programs that funds companies with ATP (Advanced Technology Program) grants, including technology that improve and reduce the cost of healthcare.
The Department of Defense is the largest sponsor of R & D in the Federal government. It will receive an increase of $10.4 billion to $54.8 billion (10.5%) which had followed a record $7 billion increase in FY2002. Most of the budget of course goes to development of weapons systems but $10 billion is devoted to medical research and technology development. The total DOD budget is $379 billion.
The National Science Foundation funds mostly basic research and will increase by $240 million to $5 billion (5% increase). Of the budget, $526 million (up 3.4%) will be in biological sciences, $527 million (up 2.3%) in computer and information science, $488 (up 3.3%) in engineering, $691 million (up 13.4%) in geosciences, $942 million (up 2.3%) in math and physical sciences, $196 million for social & behavioral sciences (up 15.9%), and $304 million (up 2.0%) in polar sciences.
The National Institute of Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) which funds the Model SCI Systems will receive $110 million. Located in the Department of Education, this agency also funds disability research of all types. Combined with related programs for Assistive Technology, and Special Institutions for the Disabled, these disability related programs have a budget of about $300 million.
Finally, the federal government spends about $2 billion on the various centers that collects statistics about the nation, including health, education, and economic statistics.
[This message was edited by Wise Young on 02-12-03 at 02:15.]
I don't know if anybody is wondering why I am spending so much time analyzing the federal budget. Well, just in case anybody is wondering, the reason is because the analysis shows very clearly that many other research areas are getting a higher priority and a lot more funding than spinal cord injury. For example, cancer is getting over $5 billion, AIDS is getting $3 billion, and bioterrorism is getting $2 billion. In comparison, neurological and rehabilitation research is probably getting less than $1.5 billion.
Why should this be? Is it because neurological disorders affect less people? No, because many million people in the United States have serious disabilities from neurological problems, probably more than people who have cancer. Is it because people don't know other people with neurological diseases? Christopher Reeve brought this subject up in Australia, asking why it is that people don't get committed to something until they personally know somebody who has a problem. This doesn't ring true to me since almost everybody knows somebody who has a neurological disease. I have engaged in exercises with large audiences where I have asked people to raise their hands if they knew anybody with a stroke and a 20-30% would raise their hands, perhaps 20-30% would raise their hands when I say brain and spinal cord injury, another 10-20% would raise their hands when I say Alzheimer's disease, another 10-20% when I say Parkinson's disease, and so on forth. It doesn't take much before everybody in the audience has their hands up. Is it because neurological disorders causes less disability or suffering? No, because many neurological disorders are chronic, it affects more person-years of disability than any other cause. Is it because neurological disorders is not as deadly and produces chronic diseases? No, because many neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases are quite deadly and kill in the worst way possible.
Well, after thinking about it, it seems to me that the major factor that is driving the priorities of America's spending on biomedical research is fear. People fear cancer, AIDS, and bioterrorism. Fear is driving the spending. The anthrax letter that closed down Congress for weeks was a threat that came close to home for many members of Congress, even though it infected very few people. They are willing to spend a lot of money just to get that threat off their minds.
But perhaps what bothers me most is that ignorance is driving the priorities of Congress. Why is the federal government spending over a billion dollars developing vaccines against anthrax? This is a disease that can be readily and relatively cheaply treated with antibiotics. The effectiveness of antibiotic therapy is quite clear because the last anthrax attack resulted in no more than 5 deaths and most of those occurred because the infected people did not get the antibiotic early enough. Besides, it would not be very difficult or take very long for a determined and competent enemy microbiology laboratory to create a strain of anthrax that would not be protected by any specific vaccine available or developed in the future. Yet, Congress is spending over a billion dollars on developing what will likely be an ineffective vaccine for a disease that can be more cheaply and effectively treated with antibiotics.
Why is America not investing more into research to cure neurological disorders such as spinal cord injury?
[This message was edited by Wise Young on 02-12-03 at 09:35.]
in my opinion that's what it all boils down to. the recent coverage of cr in sept. brought a flurry of attention, even the cr bill which was introduced shortly after the sept. special. unfortunately our society is motivated by the media. we have to come up with a plan solely to get media attention. how? i'm not sure i have that answer, but in my opinion that would get us going. now we have to put our heads together and figure out a way. bob
We have had plenty of media coverage, actually. Just the postings on these forums indicate that there are nearly daily news stories about spinal cord injury. Every time somebody gets spinal cord injury in a football game or car accident, you see articles in the paper. When Christopher Reeve holds a press conference, almost every major network is there. I am not sure that more media coverage will change things. The main difference between anthrax and spinal cord injury is the fear factor. I was watching the news in New York City, telling people that they need to get duct tape to seal their windows in case of a terrorist attack. Millions of people are rushing out to buy batteries for their radios. The combination of fear and ignorance is what is driving Congress to pour funding into bioterrorism research.
Carl R, in another posting, pointed out that all this investment into security and protection against theoretical threats is not beneficial for the economy. Other than treating their paranoia, what does all this investment into bioterrorism do for our economy? Will it put more people into jobs? Will it improve the lives of people? While I understand that there is irrationality in any population of people, we have leaders who are supposed to be knowledgeable and act appropriately instead of giving into irrational fears.
it's the message that counts
as in any form of media coverage, what's the message? yeah we have a lot of coverage but are we stressing urgency to buy the idea? that with the right kind of funding we can end paralysis? parkinsons, alzhiemers? as with advertising, is it more commercials that sell the product? or the effective ones that do? i've spent a lot of money in advertising and it all came down to the right kind of ad and where you put it, not how much you spend! bob
Bob, I agree. So, what is the message that you think will work?
For example, do you think that there should be ads or news stories saying that "you or your child could be next..." By the way, this message does work but it promotes prevention and not cure.
Should there be educational documentaries that give the message of hope? I have appeared on NOVA and worked for years with ABC and NBC helping them produce such stories. For example, Barbara Walters and ABC has aired at least five hour-long documentary/interviews with Christopher and scientists. I did a 5-part series with Katie Couric on the Today Show. There have been innumerable shows with 48 hours, evening news, CNN, etc., etc. These may have helped raised awareness but it did not really raise the funding level all that much.
Should we set a panel of prominent scientists and nobel laureates to tell the media and congress that spinal cord injury is curable? Well, that was done, too, by the Dana Alliance, not once but many times. The Dana Alliance has sent formal public letters to Congress saying that spinal cord injury is curable. Two years ago, the Society for Neuroscience with 20,000 members attending had a publicly televised session where Dennis Choi and others got up and said that spinal cord injury is curable.
Should we have a panel of economists showing that spinal cord injury and other neurological disorders are bankrupting the economy of America, that these disorders cause more person-years of suffering and take up a larger share of the $2 trillion medical care bill of this country than all the other disorders combined? By the way, this too has been done. It was testimony like this that led Congress to agree to double the NIH budget.
By the way, what we have never done is to have the spinal cord injury community march on Washington. There has never been an occasion where the spinal cord injury community has gotten its voice together and pressed for more research. Scientists and individuals like Christopher Reeve can only do so much without stronger and more united grass roots support. When Arthur Ullian and I went to Washington in the mid 1990's to try to convince Senators and Congress members to increase NIH funding, they told us to go away and come back with grass roots support. Christopher Reeve of course began going to Congress very early after his injury, starting within 1995. So, we had celebrity support but the grass roots support never materialized.
[This message was edited by Wise Young on 02-12-03 at 11:41.]
[This message was edited by Wise Young on 02-12-03 at 11:43.]
and therinlies the problem
that is what needs to be figured out. i keep using advertising as an an example but that's what i know best. k-mart for example has tried lots of advertising and it's not working! we americans like to see evidence, proof, so that we can make our decision. we tell them it's curable but where's the proof? the smoking gun shall i say. bob
When is a good time to do a March on Washington? Is this something some of us here could organize or is it best to hire someone to organize? Is it somethind CRPF legislative arm could initiate? If you think this can make a difference ( i live in DC) you have my commitment.
using aids an example
did you know that in the early 80s the gay community in san francisco was told, that aids was being spread by gay sex in the bath houses of sf, by the center for desease control, but that they could not prove it. so the gay community fought tooth and nail to keep the bath houses open. it wasn't until they could prove it that the bath houses closed. the smoking gun. bob
Here is a list of the funds that will be received by each NIH institute in 2003.