On Monday, President Obama released his Fiscal Year 2013 budget proposal. As the week progressed, federal agency officials began to release details of the proposal, which is drawing criticism from many organizations in the health and research communities. The President’s budget proproses to freeze funding for NIH at the FY12 level of $30.7 billion. In a budget briefing on Wednesday (2/15), NIH Director Frances Collins stated that despite the freeze in funding, the President’s budget proposal would allow for a 7% increase in FY13 (over FY12) in new and competing research grants. Dr. Collins stated that the increase is made possible by increased turnover in grants, largely do to the fact that “science is moving more quickly” than has traditionally been the case. The decrease in the duration of grants coupled with a 1% FY13 reduction to noncompeting grants was mentioned as the primary drivers of the proposed increase in new and competing grants. Dr. Collins acknowledged that, when adjusted for inflation, purchasing power at NIH has been in decline since 2003.
Some items of note from the NIH FY13 Budget Proposal:
- The NIDCR budget is slated for a $2 million decrease to $408 million.
- Funds are sought from the Public Health Prevention Fund (part of the Affordable Care Act) to make a significant increase in Alzheimer’s research.
- The ratio of funding between basic and applied research (54% basic, 46% applied) remains constant -as has been the case for several years.
- The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) would receive an 11% increase to $639 million, which includes significant funding ($50 million) for the Cures Acceleration Network.
Other noteworthy budget information:
- The overall Health and Human Services budget request is 8.5% lower than last year.
- Oral health funding within CDC, Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, is essentially the same after a $9,000 increase to $14.653 million.
- The request for the National Science Foundation is up 5% to $7.373 billion.
- The request for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality is up by roughly 1% to $408.8 million. However, the proposal cuts investigator-initiated researcg grants by more than 31%, and comparative effectiveness research grants by 41%.
The President’s Budget Request marks the beginning of the budget process on the Hill. It is clear that the FY13 appropriations process is off to a rocky start for health and much of the research community.