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Thread: Flat NIH funding again in '08, President's budget is below inflation for 5th year

  1. #1

    Flat NIH funding again in '08, President's budget is below inflation for 5th year

    President George W. Bush may go down in history as the the most anti-science of presidents.

    Wise.


    http://www.the-scientist.com/news/home/49077/

    Flat NIH funding again in '08
    President's budget fails to keep pace with inflation for fifth-straight year

    [Published 6th February 2007 02:53 PM GMT]

    US President George Bush yesterday (Feb. 5) sent to Congress a $28.9 billion budget request for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for Fiscal 2008, an ostensible 0.8 percent increase of $232 million over the amount currently authorized by Congress. If enacted, it would be the fifth year in a row that NIH funding has failed to keep pace with the rate of biomedical inflation, estimated at 3.7 percent for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1, 2007.

    Even though the NIH would gain a small increase, the net amount received would be far less, however, since part of the increase includes an infusion of $200 million to cover the entire U.S. government's contribution to the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. By that measure, NIH's budget would effectively be increased by only $32 million -- a tenth of a percent.

    "We're not pleased, we're not happy, we are very concerned," said Jon Retzlaff, legislative affairs director for the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). "Technically the president can say NIH is increased by $232 million when, in effect, it's only $32 million, which is sorely inadequate," he told The Scientist.

    Congress will begin holding hearings on the new budget request even though work on the current Fiscal 2007 budget remains unfinished. Lawmakers last year failed to pass Fiscal 2007 budgets for NIH and most other agencies, leaving them to operate at Fiscal 2006 levels under a continuing resolution, which expires Feb. 15.

    The Senate is presently weighing a revision to that resolution that would add $620 million, or 2.1 percent, to the Fiscal 2007 request, boosting NIH's budget to more than $29 billion. If that resolution and NIH's Fiscal 2008 budget both win approval, the agency would suffer a net reduction from '07 to '08, even before factoring in the Global Fund contribution.

    "This budget situation is about as confusing as I've ever seen," said Dave Moore, senior associate vice president at the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). "The bottom line is the president's budget is pretty bad news for NIH," he told The Scientist.

    The administration's request for NIH includes $28.7 billion in congressional appropriations and $158 million in transfers for mandated diabetes and public health research, for a total of about $28.9 billion. More than half the funds ($15.2 billion, or 53 percent) would support research project grants (RPGs) and small business awards.

    The Fiscal 2008 budget, if okayed, would support about 10,188 new and competing RPGs at $3.6 billion, 566 more than this year, with the average grant size at about $350,000 and with no inflationary increases. Noncompeting grants would drop by 570 to around 26,098, amounting to $10.8 billion. National Research Service Award (NRSA) training program stipend levels would be held to Fiscal 2007 levels.

    "Our immediate focus is to buttress core areas of vulnerability by maintaining an adequate pipeline of new investigators, especially in novel and recently emerging areas of opportunity," the NIH budget request states.

    Funding for most NIH institutes and centers (ICs) would show only minimal increases of between 0.2 and 0.4 percent, with the major exception being the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), whose funding would increase by 4.8 percent -- or $210 million -- to $4.6 billion, mostly due to the infusion earmarked for the Global Fund. "Common Fund" research, controlled by the NIH director, would increase by 17 percent -- or $72 million -- to $486 million, to support trans-NIH Roadmap initiatives.

    As was the case last year, the physical sciences fare slightly better. The National Science Foundation (NSF) would increase $408.8 million or 6.8 percent to $6.4 billion. Research and related activities would increase 7.7 percent or $365.7 million to $5.1 billion, while funding in the biological sciences directorate (BIO) would increase by 4.1 percent to $633 million.

    The NSF budget request comes close to matching the $6.5 billion that FASEB recommended last week in its annual funding report. The NIH budget request, however, falls far short of the 6 percent increase FASEB officials say would be needed during each of the next three years to compensate for the funds lost to inflation.


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  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Wise Young
    President George W. Bush may go down in history as the the most anti-science of presidents.

    Wise.


    http://www.the-scientist.com/news/home/49077/
    I guess that the subject of the NIH budget has no interest to anybody on this site. Here we are, soon on our way to Washington DC to lobby for more spinal cord injury research funding and particularly for the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Act and Embryonic Stem Cell Research. George W.Bush announces the NIH budget which for the fifth year in a row is under the inflation rate, meaning a cut.

    As this article points out, NIH ostensibly gets a 0.8% increase of $232 million in 2008 compared to 2007 but even this is offset by Bush placing a $200 million commitment to cover the U.S. contribution to the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. This is what George Bush is proposing to Congress.

    Please note that in 2007, Republican lawmakers were unable to pass a budget which left them to operate at fiscal 2006 levels under a continuing resolution. So, the situation is much worse that any of us thought could have happened. Here is a president who has not only stopped any increase in the NIH budget for five years but has been stealing billions of dollars of the funds for other research. Over $9 billion per year is being spent of biodefense research, compared to less than $1 billion in 2001.

    Spinal cord injury funding went from $84 million in 2005 to $64 million in 2006. This is a very substantial cut. No wonder the number of spinal cord injury studies have decreased in the past year. Many of the laboratories are either shuttering their windows and battening down their hatches instead of pushing forward on their research. Clinical trial plans are being put off. I don't think that a single NIH funded clinical trial on spinal cord injury therapy has started in the past 4 years.

    Wise.

  3. #3
    Inflationary pressures stressing the National Institute of Health's abilility to fund cutting-edge research eased a little yesterday. Arlen Specter, champ that he is, offered Senate Amendment 506 to add $2.2 billion to the each of the proposed funding levels through 2012.

    These increases will restore the NIH's annual budget to where it would be had President Bush and the Republican Congress allowed the NIH's budget to keep pace with inflation. (Source)
    We'll be pushing for increased NIH funding as well, Wise.
    ...it's worse than we thought. it turns out the people at the white house are not secret muslims, they're nerds.

  4. #4
    I found it interesting, just so discouraging that I had nothing to add.

  5. #5
    Suspended Andy's Avatar
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    I'm gonna play devil's advocate here, but with the NIH funding such pearls as this one towards SCI ('discovery' of clonus generated in the spinal cord...they could have just asked anyone with SCI), I am kind of apathetic towards the lack of NIH money being devoted to the sciences if this is the science they are looking to create. Until some politically connected organization finds it in vogue to study SCI, the money will be sent to those that are in the good 'ol boy network studying the scientific views of those in political power. I guess we should be thankful the religious leadership still doesnt believe that the earth is flat or that the sun revolves around the earth like in the olden days, eh? Now there would be some interesting 'research' proposals .

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Andy
    I'm gonna play devil's advocate here, but with the NIH funding such pearls as this one towards SCI ('discovery' of clonus generated in the spinal cord...they could have just asked anyone with SCI), I am kind of apathetic towards the lack of NIH money being devoted to the sciences if this is the science they are looking to create. Until some politically connected organization finds it in vogue to study SCI, the money will be sent to those that are in the good 'ol boy network studying the scientific views of those in political power. I guess we should be thankful the religious leadership still doesnt believe that the earth is flat or that the sun revolves around the earth like in the olden days, eh? Now there would be some interesting 'research' proposals .
    Andy,

    I am really bothered by your statement. The discovery that the spinal cord has sufficient plasticity so that 90% of people with "incomplete" spinal cord injury will recover independent locomotion is one of the most important findings of the decade. In my opinion, your apathy is not well justified.

    The mechanisms underlying recovery in spinal cord injury are not well understood. For most of human history, doctors and scientists have assumed that the spinal cord is a hard-wired system that is incapable of plasticity. Now, along comes this finding that knocks all that dogma out of the window. Scientists want to study the mechanism of this plasticity and you think that this is a waste of time?

    I don't know. I have long argued to NIH to include people in the spinal cord injury cord injury community in advisory committees to help decide NIH policy But, there are other times when I see posts like yours that make me very concerned that people are simply not taking the time to understand the science and even the issues.

    I am not saying of course that all research funded by NIH is all good. They do make mistakes but I don't think that funding studies of how the spinal cord recovers locomotion is one of these mistakes. It is very important work that should be funded and the data obtained will be an important part designing recovery programs after regenerative therapies.

    Wise.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Leo's Avatar
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    Hi Wise,

    I some how missed this post, thanks for bumping it.

    We're out here, see you in DC.
    http://justadollarplease.org/

    2010 SCINet Clinical Trial Support Squad Member

    "You kids and your cures, why back when I was injured they gave us a wheelchair and that's the way it was and we liked it!" Grumpy Old Man

    .."i used to be able to goof around so much because i knew Superman had my back. now all i've got is his example -- and that's gonna have to be enough."

  8. #8
    Suspended Andy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wise Young
    Andy,

    I am really bothered by your statement. The discovery that the spinal cord has sufficient plasticity so that 90% of people with "incomplete" spinal cord injury will recover independent locomotion is one of the most important findings of the decade. In my opinion, your apathy is not well justified.
    Is that what that was about? I read it as spinal cord causing 'stepping' motions across to the other leg (which I can do by bouncing my leg on the wheelchair footplate when conditions that cause spazzyness in me are present). I saw it as kind of useless to study this as my legs are still not connected to my brain. Maybe I missed something scanning over the article.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Wise Young
    I guess that the subject of the NIH budget has no interest to anybody on this site.
    I intend on calling my legislators on April 22nd through the 24th to show my support for the upcoming symposium and rally. How else can I most immediately support the cause?

    April 22-24 Washington DC Symposium & Rally: http://www.working2walk.org/

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by cvelusc
    I intend on calling my legislators on April 22nd through the 24th to show my support for the upcoming symposium and rally. How else can I most immediately support the cause?

    April 22-24 Washington DC Symposium & Rally: http://www.working2walk.org/
    cvelusc,

    There are four major issues that you may want to bring up to your legislators. I have been trying to present some of the data and arguments for these issues.

    1. Pass the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Act (CRPA). This is a much neglected area whose funding is strongly supported by the NIH and will do much for people with paralysis.

    2. Increase spinal cord injury research funding. It has fallen from $84 million in 2000 to $64 million in 2006. This decline is coming as we are trying to get therapies from laboratory to clinical trial.

    3. Support the Spector-Harkin amendment to increase NIH budget by $2.1 billion, particularly funding for young scientists. Over the past 7 years, the average age at which young scientists are now getting individual research grants (R01) is 42-44 years old. Less than 2% of successful applicants of R01 awards are under age 35. We are knocking out a whole generation of young scientists. http://sci.rutgers.edu/forum/showthr...395#post633395

    4. Support stem cell research by allowing NIH to fund such research and appropriating the funds of the research. SCREA is good but will not do much for the research without an increase in NIH budget.

    Wise.
    Last edited by Wise Young; 04-03-2007 at 03:17 AM.

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