Tomorrow the House is scheduled to consider the FY 2010 Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Bill. This bill funds the National Institutes of Health, within which is the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB).
House Appropriations Committee Report 111-220 accompanying H.R. 3293 has just been posted. The committee did not include any policy language regarding NIBIB. The report states:
“Mission- The NIBIB mission is to improve human health by leading the development and accelerating the application of biomedical technologies. The Institute is committed to integrating the engineering and physical sciences with the life sciences to advance basic research and medical care.”
The report also provides the committee’s FY 2010 funding recommendation for NIBIB:
The current budget (excluding stimulus funding) is $308.2 million. The Administration requested $312.7 million, an increase of 1.5 percent or $4.5 million over the current budget. The House appropriations bill recommends $319.2 million, an increase of 3.4 percent or $11 million over the current budget.
House appropriators recommended a total NIH budget increase (excluding stimulus funding) of 3.1 percent, to $31,258.8 million.
The introduction to the section of the report on NIH is of note:
“Fiscal year 2009 has been a year of unprecedented opportunity for NIH. The combination of Recovery Act funding and the fiscal year 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act increased the NIH appropriation by almost 40 percent. NIH is required to spend all Recovery Act funding in two years in order to spur economic recovery. NIH has risen to that challenge and has created new types of grants that aim to produce defined results in a two-year period, along with expanding current grants to pursue new inquiries. NIH is on track to obligate all Recovery Act funding by the end of fiscal year 2010.
“The Committee is convinced that investing now in NIH research will generate untold breakthroughs that will improve health and reduce health care expenditures in the future. The nation's return on investment in NIH includes declines in death rates for cardiovascular diseases and an increase in cancer survivorship, as just two examples. NIH is the largest single engine for biomedical research in the world. The pace of discovery in the biomedical sciences has never been as rapid or as promising. NIH funding supports more than 300,000 scientists and research personnel affiliated with more than 3,100 organizations in all 50 States.
“The Committee is concerned by the harmful precedent established in the Administration's budget of setting specific funding levels for particular diseases. The Committee believes it is more appropriate to allocate funding in a way that permits scientific peer review to decide the most promising research to support. The serendipitous nature of science is documented each year, with breakthroughs in one disease area emanating from a finding in a completely unrelated field. The Committee recognizes these unanticipated opportunities by recommending a funding level which provides a comparable inflationary adjustment to the fiscal year 2009 levels for each institute and center to offset biomedical research inflation; includes resources to finance 10,739 new and competing grants, an increase of 914 over fiscal year 2009 (excluding the grants supported with Recovery Act funding); and provides an average two percent increase for both new and continuing grants to maintain the grants' purchasing power. The number of total grants will rise to 38,888, an increase of 1,105 over fiscal year 2009. The recommendation is attentive to the pipeline issue, providing funding for two programs to support young investigators as well as a two percent average increase in research training stipends.”