Releases Federal Funding Report, Statement on NIH
The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology is taking its message of support for biomedical researchers to both Congress and the federal science agencies. On Jan. 28, FASEB President Mark O. Lively presided over the unveiling of FASEB’s annual report, “Federal Funding for Biomedical and Related Life Sciences Research, FY2011.” Developed through consultation with FASEB’s 23 member societies and scientific experts, this report makes the case for sustainable funding for five federal science agencies: the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The annual report, which serves as the basis for FASEB’s research funding advocacy efforts for the next fiscal year, will be distributed to federal lawmakers, health-research officials in the administration and the research community.
A summary of FASEB’s recommendations for the five agencies is detailed below:
National Institutes of Health
In order to fulfill the extraordinary scientific and medical promise of biomedical research, FASEB urges Congress to make the NIH a priority and recommends that it receive $37 billion in fiscal 2011.
National Science Foundation
FASEB recommends an appropriation of $7.68 billion for the National Science Foundation in fiscal 2011.
U.S. Department of Energy
In keeping with President Obama’s vision for doubling the DOE Office of Science budget, FASEB recommends an appropriation of $5.24 billion in fiscal 2011.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
FASEB recommends funding the VA Medical and Prosthetics Research Program at the $1 billion level in fiscal 2011, including $700 million for research and $300 million for infrastructure.
U.S. Department of Agriculture
FASEB supports funding the USDA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative at $500 million in fiscal 2011.
In response to a September 2009 town hall meeting at which NIH Director Francis Collins pledged to maintain a “wide-open” dialogue with agency constituents, FASEB submitted a statement to NIH regarding balance and optimization of the agency portfolio, focusing on three major issues.
First, FASEB urged NIH to stimulate innovation in the biomedical research enterprise through the sustained support of science and scientists and emphasized that higher paylines and success rates allow investigators and study sections to take more risks.
Second, the statement highlighted how the percentage of the NIH budget for Research Project Grants and R01 awards has declined and requested an explanation for how the agency will address that issue in the future. FASEB also noted that since the end of the NIH budget doubling in 2003, the actual number of R01 awards has fallen 7.4 percent (from 28,743 to 26,621).
Finally, FASEB recommended that NIH enhance investigator-initiated research across the full spectrum of basic, translational and clinical research and that it resist calls for redistribution of funding resources unless there are appropriate increases in the budget.
*Tyrone Spady of FASEB’s Office of Public Affairs contributed to this article.
Carrie D. Wolinetz (firstname.lastname@example.org) is director of scientific affairs and public relations for the Office of Public Affairs at FASEB.