The National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, part of the National Institutes of Health, celebrates its tenth anniversary this year. The “Director’s Overview” in its budget document explains:
“The mission of National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) is to improve human health by leading the development and accelerating the application of biomedical technologies. By focusing on improving health care through technology, NIBIB invests resources in scientific and technological opportunities and in the next generation of researchers. NIBIB is at the forefront of translating scientific advances into engineered medical solutions. Ultimately, NIBIB seeks to realize innovations that address health care challenges, reduce disease mortality and morbidity, and enhance quality of life. To accomplish this goal, NIBIB continues to fund bold and far-reaching projects that facilitate discovery and translate basic science into new and improved health care.”
NIBIB’s FY 2012 budget is $338.0 million. The FY 2013 budget request is $336.9 million, a decline of $1.1 million or 0.3 percent
The current budget for the National Institutes of Health, $30.860 billion, would remain constant under the FY 2013 budget request.
NIBIB’s “Overall Budget Policy” is described as follows:
“NIBIB funding policies give special consideration to applications that bridge and integrate the life and physical sciences, and also focus on enhancing support for new investigators. Funds are included in R&D contracts to support trans-NIH initiatives, such as the Basic Behavioral and Social Sciences Opportunity Network (OppNet).”
The Director’s Overview describes four “themes.” The first, “Investing in Basic Research,” states:
“NIBIB supports research at the convergence of engineering, mathematics, and the physical and life sciences to advance fundamental discoveries and knowledge in basic biomedical research. Such convergence science approaches are leading to improved understanding of human physiology in both health and disease, and answering some of the biologic mysteries required for the design of improved diagnostics and therapies.”
The second theme, “Accelerating Discovery through Technology” is described as follows:
“The promise of exciting basic discoveries is limited by existing technological tools with adequate temporal-spatial resolution to examine biological processes across all physical scales. In FY 2013, NIBIB plans to pursue technology development that will enable such discoveries. For example, the development of imaging mass spectroscopy approaches provides tools that could be used to study complex functions of cells. Research on bioinformatics and computational tools to collect multi-parametric data in parallel and to analyze large volumes of data will complement the research on advanced discovery tools.”
The third theme is “Advancing Translational Science”:
“A recent example of advancing translational science that could have a broad impact is the development of a hand-held integrated NMR [nuclear magnetic resonance], micro-fluidics, nanotechnology and smart phone device to detect and molecularly characterize cancer at the bedside. Early studies indicate this may be more accurate at the point-of-care than traditional biopsies that return results in days. This new technology is currently undergoing further clinical validation and is described in more detail in the first program portrait.
“NIBIB also supports the development of imaging techniques for early disease detection, which can facilitate early treatment and potentially reduce costly chronic conditions.”
Finally, “Encouraging New Investigations and New Ideas”:
“NIBIB is an enthusiastic supporter of new investigators and has a longstanding policy that provides an additional 5 percentile point advantage to these individuals when selecting grants for funding. In FY 2011, the number of NIBIB-supported new investigators was equivalent to 45 percent of the new R01 awards. This policy encourages and nurtures the next generation of researchers who are likely to push the innovation boundaries.”