NCATS Policy Workshop Announced

Christopher Austin, M.D., NCATS Director

The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) will hold a policy workshop on December 11, 2012 at the Universities at Shady Grove in Rockville, MD. The goal of this workshop is to explore how NCATS can develop a proactive policy research and analysis agenda to inform translational research. AADR staff will participate in the NCATS workshop and share relevant news.

For more information and to register for this event, click here.

Five Minutes for the Future, 500 Letters to Congress

Now that the 2012 elections are over, Congress is returning to the business of crafting a 10-year deficit reduction plan. While efforts to bring the federal budget into greater balance are certainly necessary, Congress must do so in a way that doesn’t cost lives or impede the economic growth made possible through investments in biomedical research.

On January 2, 2013, the National Institutes of Health – along with much of the Federal government – stands to lose approximately 8% of its budget as required by the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA). The $2.5 billion loss at NIH would result in 2,300 fewer research grants awarded in Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 alone. For the fiscal year that concluded on September 30, 2012, the NIH grant success rate is likely to be reported as falling to 15% -an all-time low. A budget loss at the level required by the BCA could send the NIH grant success rate towards the single digits. Continue reading

Budget Message Getting Across

AADR partner, the Coalition for Health Funding, reports that senior staff on Capitol Hill and in the Obama administration have communicated an intent to protect the non-defense discretionary (NDD) budget as much as possible during the ongoing negotiations of an alternative to the across-the-board budget cuts set to take place on January 2nd. The NDD budget includes much of the Department of Health and Human Services, including NIH/NIDCR. Reductions already made to the NDD budget, since passage of the Budget Control Act of 2011, may be credited towards the overall deficit reduction target. Such a step would be significant to the effort to sustain health and research funding going forward. Last week, in a post-election appearance in the East Room of the White House, President Obama reiterated his position that a balanced approach to deficit reduction must be generated in the next two months. He touched on the issue again in a press conference on Wednesday (11/14), mentioning basic research as an example of the casualties possible if NDD continues to be the sole target of deficit reduction. A CHF letter to leaders on Capitol Hill can be found here.

Later this week, AADR will release an important call for member action in e-mailing their Members of Congress to urge the protection of funding for research. The alert will be e-mailed to AADR members and available on this site.

Elections Conclude, Budget Battle Begins Anew

The campaign speeches, debates and rallies are over. The results in most states are known at the presidential and congressional levels. However, the November 6th elections did little to settle the debate on how best to reduce the deficit while bolstering the U.S. economy.

A majority of voters opted to give President Barack Obama additional time to right the economy. The president appears on course to secure roughly 51% of the vote and 332 electoral college votes (270 needed for victory). Democrats will gain seats in the United States Senate — retaining their majority — through battleground victories in Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota and Ohio. Republicans will keep their majority in the House of Representatives. However, the net change remains unknown. Overall, after Inauguration Day 2013, the political makeup of the federal government will be much the same as it is today. Continue reading

The 2012 Science Debate

It’s election eve and hopefully science is on the mind of the electorate. Candidates at the congressional and presidential levels have responded to questions posed by the science community. Several organizations, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Academies Press, have partnered to compile presidential candidate responses to 14 questions and the results can be found on Additionally, AADR has co-sponsored the Research!America 2012 Your Candidates Your Health inititiave, which provides candidate responses in a searchable database at the congressional and presidential levels. Following the elections on Tuesday, AADR will provide analysis of the impact on research to be expected.

AADR Encourages Research Objective in Healthy People 2020

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently requested public comment on proposed new Healthy People 2020 objectives. The new objectives would be added to the Educational and Community-Based Programs and Seocial Determinants of Health topic areas. According to HHS, “Healthy People 2020 will provide opportunities for public input periodically throughout the decade to ensure that Healthy People 2020 reflects current public health priorities and public input.” AADR applauded HHS for new objectives intended to enhance DDS and DMD programs, but asked that research be more specifically addressed. Continue reading

NIH Director Launches Blog

NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins is now an active blogger. His blog site was launched on November 1st and now features interesting posts on issues facing NIH as well as special events.




By Dr. Francis Collins, on November 1st, 2012

I’m starting this blog to highlight new discoveries in biology and medicine that I think are game changers, noteworthy, or just plain cool. Depending on what’s going on in the world of biomedical research, I may tell you about an interesting study in a journal, or share my thoughts about a news item or public health issue.

Continue reading