Policy Corner: Collins Testifies on 2011 NIH Budget
On Wednesday, May 5, Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), testified before the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee about the fiscal year (FY) 2011 budget for NIH. The proposed budget has potential impact for ACSM members, including additional funding for young investigators and an increased focus on global health.
Dr. Collins cited specific examples of scientific breakthroughs and human success stories supported by NIH research as a way to justify the President’s request to increase NIH’s FY 2011 budget by $1 billion.
According to Dr. Collins, the agency’s proposed distribution of the funding increase across the 27 Institutes and Centers (ICs) reflects an investment in capitalizing on the five thematic areas he sees for exceptional opportunity. The five themes are: (1) high-throughput technologies, such as the Cancer Genome Atlas; (2) translational research, such as the Therapeutics for Rare and Neglected Diseases (TRND) program and the expansion of stem cell research; (3) using research to benefit healthcare, for example through comparative effectiveness research (CER) and personalized medicine; (4) global health, researching not just infectious but also noncommunicable diseases; and (5) empowering the biomedical research community, such as getting young investigators into the research workforce pipeline.
Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) expressed concern that NIH would face a $4 billion budgetary loss in FY 2011 due to the impact of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding awarded to NIH. Dr. Collins informed the Subcommittee about how NIH has prepared for the drop-off in funding but expects there to be increased pressure for research support without proper budgetary resources. Dr. Collins also said that NIH will be advising researchers who need additional time to complete their ARRA-funded projects to request a no-cost extension.