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Policy

NIH Budget Losing Ground

April 14, 2008 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 86, ISSUE 15

Over the past five years, funding for NIH has dropped in constant dollars, according to data compiled by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Specifically, FASEB reports funding for NIH in constant dollars was $31.7 billion in fiscal 2004, but has fallen 13% to a projected $27.5 billion for fiscal 2009. This drop in funding resulted in a decline in the total number of RO1 grants—from 29,061 in 2004 to 27,850 in 2007. "We have seen a substantial decline in NIH's purchasing power, curtailing the ability of scientists to take advantage of new opportunities and respond to new health challenges," says Howard Garrison, director of FASEB's Office of Public Affairs. This period of decline comes on the heels of a five-year doubling of the agency's budget. And, according to the FASEB analysis, if the 1998 to 2003 doubling had not taken place, and if NIH had continued at its historic rate of growth from 1998 through 2008, then the agency's budget would be several billion dollars higher than it is today.

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