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Senate Hears NIH Funding Woes

Top brass at the US science agency aired monetary grievances before a Senate committee last week.

By | May 20, 2013

WIKIMEDIA, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURYThe already slim budget for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is being further sapped by the government-wide sequester to the point that a whole generation of US scientists is at risk, according to agency director Francis Collins. After highlighting “exciting new initiatives” at the NIH and praising President Barack Obama’s $31.3 billion 2014 budget request for the agency, Collins bemoaned the belt tightening that the sequestration—a 10-year, across the board cut to discretionary funding mandated by the Budget Control Act—has set in motion.

“If the Budget Control Act-imposed caps on discretionary programs continue, and NIH funding is reduced proportionally over the next 10 years, funding will decline by about $19 billion,” Collins told the US Senate’s Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education last Wednesday (May 15). “The consequences will be harmful to scientific progress and to American leadership in science.”

The sequestration would cut 5 percent of the NIH’s appropriation, essentially eliminating the 1.5 percent provided by Obama’s 2014 budget and leaving the agency $1.6 billion short of its 2013 budget. And if the sequester remains in place for a decade, NIH funding would suffer the $19 billion loss Collins mentioned in his plea to the Subcommittee.

“At a time when global competition in the life sciences is intensifying, the American economy cannot afford to lose ground in scientific efforts that promote human health,” he said.

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Comments

Avatar of: Jayelle13

Jayelle13

Posts: 1

May 20, 2013

It may be time to consider comprehensive reform of the NIH intramural program. 

Avatar of: CBerrien

CBerrien

Posts: 8

May 20, 2013

A good question is who's deciding on these discretionary programs? A number of the studies they've chosen to fund are downright mind-boggling.

Avatar of: dlr

dlr

Posts: 1

May 21, 2013

"a whole generation of US scientists is at risk"?   Because of a 5% cut to the NIH?  What a joke.    If Collins can't find 5% of fat to cut in his budget, he should resign, by reason of incompetence.   

Avatar of: SS44

SS44

Posts: 3

May 21, 2013

It is even more ridiculous that other than few exceptions large number  of the intramural scientist have moved to NIH after failing in academia. They do not have to write grant and NIH continues to support their third grade mediocre research . I hope the congress should look into this matter closely.  

Avatar of: ron92647

ron92647

Posts: 3

June 5, 2013

 

Every senator and representative needs to be voted out ASAP for such stupidity while in office and BHO has proven to be the picture of failure in leadership I  knew he would be.  
Avatar of: SS44

SS44

Posts: 3

June 5, 2013

Why even have intramural on every single area in direct competition with academia except some critical area such as national defense etc where academic infrastructure is weak. The congress and senate should mandate some supervision of how NIH intramural mediocre program is wasting precious research fund,

Avatar of: SS44

SS44

Posts: 3

June 6, 2013

Why even have intramural on every single area in direct competition with academia except some critical area such as national defense etc where academic infrastructure is weak. The congress and senate should mandate some supervision of how NIH intramural mediocre program is wasting precious research fund,

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