Statement highlights concern over stagnant NIH funding

A statement titled “Within Our Grasp–Or Slipping Away? Assuring a New Era of Scientific and Medical Progress” calls attention to a worrisome funding situation at the NIH.

The statement, which was issued by a group of concerned scientists at UW-Madison, Johns Hopkins University, Harvard, Columbia, Yale, Washington University, University of Texas and Partners HealthCare, Inc., explains that “[d]oubling the NIH budget between 1998 and 2003 enabled researchers to achieve historic progress. But after this great push forward, the budget stagnated. Some work has been frozen midstream, and eight out of 10 grant applications now go unfunded, according to NIH figures.”

“The effects of the flat budget have been exacerbated by inflation and together account for an 8 percent loss in purchasing power for the NIH (based on the Biomedical Research and Development Price Index). As a result, the NIH is able to buy less and less with its research dollars–constraining progress in real ways.”

It concludes:

“To conquer current and future challenges and deliver the next medical breakthroughs, there is nothing more important that continuing a strong and vibrant basic research enterprise. Basic research has given birth to new industries and provides the foundation for every advance in health. And America’s biomedical research enterprise, funded as collaborations between the U.S. government, through the National Institutes of Health, and America’s universities, has led the world.”

“Consistent and robust funding for the NIH – that substantively overcomes inflation – is in the national interest: advancing the health of all people, strengthening the U.S. economy, and enhancing U.S. competitiveness and global scientific leadership.”

To download the statement, click: Statement on NIH Funding Situation.