National Institutes of Health
||This article contains embedded lists that may be poorly defined, unverified or indiscriminate. (August 2011)|
|National Institutes of Health (NIH)|
|National Institutes of Health logo|
|Aerial photo of the NIH Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center, Bethesda, Maryland|
|Preceding Agency||Hygienic Laboratory|
|Headquarters||Bethesda, Maryland, U.S.|
|Annual budget||US$30.9bn (as of 2010[update])1|
|Agency executive||Francis S. Collins, Director|
|Parent Agency||Department of Health & Human Services|
|Child agencies||National Cancer Institute
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
National Library of Medicine
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services and is the primary agency of the United States government responsible for biomedical and health-related research. Its science and engineering counterpart is the National Science Foundation. It comprises 27 separate institutes, centers, and offices which includes the Office of the Director. Francis S. Collins is the current Director.
As of 2003, the NIH was responsible for 28%—about US$26.4 billion—of the total biomedical research funding spent annually in the U.S., with most of the rest coming from industry.2
The NIH's research is divided into two parts: the NIH Extramural Research Program is responsible for the funding of biomedical research outside the NIH, while the NIH Intramural Research Program (IRP) is the internal research program of the NIH, known for its synergistic approach to biomedical science.3 With 1,200 principal investigators and more than 4,000 postdoctoral fellows in basic, translational, and clinical research, the IRP is the largest biomedical research institution on earth.4 The unique funding environment of the IRP facilitates opportunities to conduct both long-term and high-impact science that would otherwise be difficult to undertake. With rigorous external reviews ensuring that only the most innovative research secures funding,5 the IRP is responsible for many scientific accomplishments, including the discovery of fluoride to prevent tooth decay, the use of lithium to manage bipolar disorder, and the creation of vaccines against hepatitis, Haemophilus influenzae (HIB), and human papillomavirus.6 Intramural research is primarily conducted at the main campus in Bethesda, Maryland, and the surrounding communities. The National Institute on Aging and the National Institute on Drug Abuse are located in Baltimore, Maryland, and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences is located in the Research Triangle region of North Carolina. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) maintains its Rocky Mountain Labs in Hamilton, Montana,7 with an emphasis on BSL3 and BSL4 laboratory work.
The goal of NIH research is to acquire new knowledge to help prevent, detect, diagnose, and treat disease and disability, from the rarest genetic disorder to the common cold. The NIH mission is to uncover new knowledge that will lead to better health for everyone. NIH works toward that mission by conducting research in its own laboratories, supporting the research of non-federal scientists (in universities, medical schools, hospitals, and research institutions throughout the country and abroad), helping in the training of research investigators, and fostering communication of medical and health sciences information.
|National Cancer Institute||NCI||Research and training aimed to eliminate the suffering and death due to cancer.||1937|
|National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases||NIAID||Research goals include striving to understand, treat, and ultimately prevent infectious, immunologic, and allergic diseases. The NIAID-funded Influenza Genome Sequencing Project is a collaborative effort designed to increase the genome knowledge base of influenza and help researchers understand how flu viruses evolve, spread and cause disease.8||1948|
|National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research||NIDCR||Provides leadership for a national research program designed to understand, treat, and ultimately prevent infectious and inherited craniofacial-oral-dental diseases and disorders.||1948|
|National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases||NIDDK||Conducts and supports research and provides leadership for a national program in diabetes, endocrinology, and metabolic diseases, digestive diseases and nutrition, and kidney, urologic, and hematologic diseases.||1948|
|National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute||NHLBI||Provides leadership for a national program in diseases of the heart, blood vessels, lung, and blood; blood resources; and sleep disorders. Also has administrative responsibility for the NIH Women's Health Initiative.||1948|
|National Institute of Mental Health||NIMH||Understanding, treatment, and prevention of mental illnesses through basic research on the brain and behavior, and through clinical, epidemiological, and services research.||1949|
|National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke||NINDS||Supports and conducts research, both basic and clinical, on the normal and diseased nervous system, fosters the training of investigators in the basic and clinical neurosciences, and seeks better understanding, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of neurological disorders.||1950|
|National Library of Medicine||NLM||NLM collects, organizes, and makes available biomedical science information to investigators, educators, and practitioners and carries out programs designed to strengthen medical library services in the United States. The NLM established the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) which is a central repository of biological information and includes the PubMed literature database and the gene database GenBank. The NCBI is one of the largest components of the NLM.||1956|
|National Institute of Child Health and Human Development||NICHD||NICHD researchs fertility, pregnancy, growth, development, and medical rehabilitation for the promotion of all aspects of child health.||1962|
|National Institute of General Medical Sciences||NIGMS||NIGMS supports basic biomedical research not targeted to specific diseases, funds studies on genes, proteins, and cells, supports research training programs that produce the next generation of biomedical scientists, has special programs to encourage underrepresented minorities to pursue biomedical research careers.||1962|
|National Eye Institute||NEI||Conducts and supports research that helps prevent and treat eye diseases and other disorders of vision.||1968|
|National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences||NIEHS||Research on how environmental exposures, genetic susceptibility, and age interact to affect an individual's health.||1969|
|National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism||NIAAA||NIAAA research is focused on improving the treatment and prevention of alcoholism and alcohol-related problems.||1970|
|National Institute on Drug Abuse||NIDA||NIDA supports and conducts research on drug abuse and addiction prevention, treatment, and policy.||1973|
|National Institute on Aging||NIA||Undertakes research on the biomedical, social, and behavioral aspects of the aging process, prevention of age-related diseases and disabilities, promotion of better quality of life for all older Americans.||1974|
|National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases||NIAMS||NIAMS supports research into causes, treatment, and prevention of arthritis and musculoskeletal and skin diseases, the training of basic and clinical scientists to carry out this research, and the dissemination of information on research progress in these diseases.||1986|
|National Institute of Nursing Research||NINR||NINR supports clinical and basic research to establish a scientific basis for the care of individuals across the life span.||1986|
|National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders||NIDCD||Conducts and supports biomedical research and research training on normal mechanisms as well as diseases and disorders of hearing, balance, smell, taste, voice, speech, and language.||1988|
|National Human Genome Research Institute||NHGRI||Supports the NIH component of the Human Genome Project. NHGRI's Intramural Research Program develops and implements technology for understanding, diagnosing, and treating genetic diseases.||1989|
|National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering||NIBIB||Promotes fundamental discoveries, design and development, and translation and assessment of technological capabilities in biomedical imaging and bioengineering, enabled by relevant areas of information science, physics, chemistry, mathematics, materials science, and computer sciences.||2000|
|National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities||NIMHD||Promotes minority health, conducts and supports research, training, research infrastructure, fosters emerging programs, disseminates information, and reaches out to minority and other health disparity communities.||2010|
In addition to being divided by research area, NIH has many operating groups called centers operating across all of the Institutes.
|Center for Scientific Review||CSR||The CSR is the focal point at NIH for the conduct of initial peer review of grant and fellowship applications, implements ways to conduct referral and review.||1946|
|Clinical Center||CC||The clinical research facility of the National Institutes of Health; provides patient care, services, and environment needed to initiate and support conduct of and training in clinical research.||1953|
|National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences||NCATS||NCATS aims to catalyze the generation of innovative methods and technologies that will enhance the development, testing and implementation of diagnostics and therapeutics across a wide range of human diseases and conditions.||2012|
|Center for Information Technology||CIT; formerly DCRT, OIRM, TCB||The CIT incorporates computers into the biomedical programs and administrative procedures of the NIH by conducting computational biosciences research, developing computer systems, and providing computer facilities.||1964|
|John E. Fogarty International Center||FIC||Promotes and supports scientific research and training internationally to reduce disparities in global health.||1968|
|Radiological Physics Center||RPC||Offers quality assurance to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) that all participating institutions in NCI sponsored cooperative groups are following the guidelines for the physics-related aspects of their protocols.||1968|
|Quality Assurance Review Center||QARC||Provides radiotherapy quality assurance and diagnostic imaging data management for all of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) sponsored cooperative groups. It also contracts privately with the pharmaceutical industry for its services in clinical trials involving anti-cancer drugs.||1977|
|National Center for Biotechnology Information||NCBI||Established as a national resource for molecular biology information, NCBI creates public databases, conducts research in computational biology, develops software tools for analyzing genome data, and disseminates biomedical information – all for the better understanding of molecular processes affecting human health and disease.||1988|
|National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine||NCCAM||Exploring complementary and alternative medical practices in the context of rigorous science, training researchers, disseminating authoritative information.||1992|
|Dale and Betty Bumpers Vaccine Research Center9||VRC||The mission of the Vaccine Research Center (VRC) is to conduct research that facilitates the development of effective vaccines for human disease. The primary focus of research is the development of vaccines for AIDS.10||19991112|
|Bioinformatics Resource Centers||BRC||Provides genomic, proteomic, biochemical, and microbiological data from a wide range of emerging/re-emerging pathogens (NIAID Category A, B, and C). Contains eight sub-centers (the BRCs) each dedicated to a different group of pathogens. Data are presented in a database format accessible by Web interfaces, together with tools for analysis.||2004|
|National Centers for Biomedical Computing||NCBC||Be the core of the networked national effort to build the computational infrastructure for biomedical computing in the nation.||2004|
|Center for Tissue Regeneration and Engineering at Dayton||TREND||Focused on human tissue regeneration and nanotechnology.||2006|
The Office of the Director is the central office at NIH. The OD is responsible for setting policy for NIH and for planning, managing, and coordinating the programs and activities of all the NIH components. Program offices in the Office of the Director are responsible for stimulating specific areas of research throughout NIH and for planning and supporting research and related activities. Current program areas are: minority health, women's health, AIDS research, disease prevention, and behavioral and social sciences research.13 In July 2009, President Barack Obama nominated Dr. Francis S. Collins, M.D., PhD, to be the Director of the NIH. On August 7, 2009, the US Senate confirmed Dr. Collins by unanimous vote.
Program offices within the Office of the Director fund research through the institutes:
|Office of Extramural Research||OER||provides guidance to institutes in research and training programs conducted through extramural (grant, contract, cooperative agreement) programs|
|Office of Intramural Research||OIR||coordinates research conducted directly by NIH personnel through intramural programs|
|Office of Management||OM||responsible for management and financial functions of the NIH|
|Office of Administration||OA||advises the NIH Director and staff on administration and management; develops and implements policies, and provides oversight in the areas of information resources management, management assessment, grant administration and contract management, procurement, and logistics|
|Office of AIDS Research||OAR||formulates scientific policy for, and recommends allocation of research resources for AIDS research at NIH|
|Office of Biotechnology Activities||OBA||"monitors scientific progress in human genetics research in order to anticipate future developments, including ethical, legal, and social concerns, in basic and clinical research involving Recombinant DNA, Genetic Technologies, and Xenotransplantation"14|
|Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research||OBSSR||advises the NIH Director and other key officials on matters relating to research on the role of human behavior in the development of health, prevention of disease, and therapeutic intervention|
|Office of Communications and Public Liaison||OCPL||advises the Director and communicates information about NIH policies, programs, and research results to the general public|
|Office of Community Liaison||OCL||advises the Director, plans, directs and oversees activities to promote collaboration between NIH and its community, and ensures effective communication on policy and programs involving the community|
|Office of Disease Prevention||ODP||coordinates NIH activities regarding the application of research to disease prevention, nutrition and medical practice|
|Office of Intramural Training and Education||OITE||provides a comprehensive guide to postdoctoral training opportunities available at the NIH|
|Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity Management||OEODM||advises the Director and NIH staff on matters related to equal employment opportunity programs and policies|
|Office of Financial Management||OFM||advises the NIH Director and staff and provides leadership and direction for NIH financial management activities; develops policies and instructions for budget preparation and presentation and administers allocation of funds and manages a system of fund and budgetary controls|
|Office of Human Resources||OHR||advises the NIH Director and staff on human resource management; directs central human resource management services; and provides NIH leadership and planning on human resource program development|
|Office of Legislative Policy and Analysis||OLPA||provides legislative analysis, policy development, and liaison with the United States Congress15|
|Office of Portfolio Analysis and Strategic Initiatives||OPASI||provides the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and its constituent Institutes and Centers (ICs) with the methods and information necessary to manage their large and complex scientific portfolios, identifies – in concert with multiple other inputs – important areas of emerging scientific opportunities or rising public health challenges, and assists in the acceleration of investments in these areas, focusing on those involving multiple ICs|
|Office of Research on Women's Health||ORWH||serves as a focal point for women's health research at the NIH. The ORWH promotes, stimulates, and supports efforts to improve the health of women through biomedical and behavioral research. ORWH works in partnership with the NIH institutes and centers to ensure that women's health research is part of the scientific framework at NIH and throughout the scientific community|
|Office of Science Education||OSE||coordinates science education activities at the NIH and develops and sponsors science education projects in house. These programs serve elementary, secondary, and college students and teachers and the public. Free curriculum supplements developed in collaboration with curriculum writers, NIH divisions, and NIH scientists are available online and in hard copy at Curriculum Supplements. The OSE has also developed an interactive health and medical science career exploration web site for middle school and high school students called LifeWorks. Other educational resources from throughout the NIH are found on the OSE main page.|
|Office of Technology Transfer||OTT||manages the wide range of NIH and FDA intramural inventions as mandated by the Federal Technology Transfer Act and related legislation. The mission of the NIH OTT is to improve public health through the management of inventions made by NIH and FDA scientists and the development of intellectual property policies for NIH's intramural and extramural research programs. In doing so, OTT serves a leading role in public sector biomedical technology transfer policy and practice. Other resources and information can be found on the OTT main page|
|Office of Rare Diseases||ORDR||supports research on rare diseases and collaborates with related organizations such as the National Organization for Rare Disorders. The Office of Rare Diseases was first established within the Office of the Director in 1993, and then by public law statute in 2002.16|
|Office of Dietary Supplements||ODS||mission is to strengthen knowledge and understanding of dietary supplements by evaluating scientific information, stimulating and supporting research, disseminating research results, and educating the public. Created in 1995 as authorized by the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (Public Law 103-417, DSHEA).17|
To better understand the NIH's funding policy, a better understanding of this federal agency's history is helpful. NIH's roots extend back to a Marine Hospital Service in the late 1790s that provided medical relief to sick and disabled men in the U.S. Navy. By 1870, a network of marine hospitals had developed and was placed under the charge of a medical officer within the Bureau of the Treasury Department. In the late 1870s, Congress allocated funds to investigate the causes of epidemics like cholera and yellow fever, and it created the National Board of Health, making medical research an official government initiative.21
In 1887, a laboratory for the study of bacteria, the Hygienic Laboratory, was established at the Marine Hospital in New York. In the early 1900s, Congress began appropriating funds for the Marine Hospital Service. By 1922, this organization changed its name to Public Health Services and established a Special Cancer Investigations laboratory at Harvard Medical School. This marked the beginning of a partnership with universities. In 1930, the Hygienic Laboratory was re-designated as the National Institutes of Health and was given $750,000 to construct two NIH buildings. Over the next few decades, Congress would increase its funding tremendously to the NIH, and various institutes and centers within the NIH were created for specific research programs.22
In 1967, the Division of Regional Medical Programs was created to administer grants for research for heart disease, cancer, and strokes. That same year, the NIH director lobbied the White House for increased federal funding in order to increase research and the speed with which health benefits could be brought to the people. An advisory committee was formed to oversee further development of the NIH and its research programs. By 1971, cancer research was in full force and President Nixon signed the National Cancer Act, initiating a National Cancer Program, President's Cancer Panel, National Cancer Advisory Board, and 15 new research, training, and demonstration centers.
The funding of NIH has often been a source of contention in Congress, serving as a proxy for the political currents of the time. This contention was seen most dramatically during the 1980s, when President Reagan repeatedly tried to cut funding for research, only to see Congress partly restore funding. The political contention over NIH funding slowed the nations's response to the AIDS epidemic; while AIDS was reported in newspaper articles from 1981, no funding was provided for research on the disease. In 1984, National Cancer Institute scientists found implications that "variants of a human cancer virus called HTLV-III are the primary cause of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)," a new epidemic that gripped the nation.23 But it was not until July 1987, as NIH celebrated its 100th anniversary, that President Reagan announced a committee to research the HIV epidemic.
By the 1990s, the focus of the NIH committee had shifted to DNA research, and the Human Genome Project was launched. In 2009, President Obama reinstated federally funded stem-cell research, revoking the ban imposed by President Bush in 2001.
From logistical restructuring, to funding increases, to research prioritization, to government expansion and political influence, the history of the National Institutes of Health is extensive and full of change. The NIH has grown to encompass nearly 1 percent of the federal government's operating budget. The NIH now controls more than 50 percent of all funding for health research, and 85 percent of all funding for health studies in universities.24
To allocate funds, the NIH must first obtain its budget from Congress. This process begins with IC leaders collaborating with scientists to determine the most important and promising research areas within their fields. IC leaders discuss research areas with NIH management who then develops a budget request for continuing projects, new research proposals, and new initiatives from the Director. NIH submits its budget request to HHS, and HHS considers this request within the parameters of its overall budget. Many adjustments and appeals occur between NIH and HHS before the agency submits NIH's budget request to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). OMB determines what amounts and research areas are approved for incorporation into the President's final budget. The President then sends NIH's budget request to Congress in February for the next fiscal year's allocations.25 The House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees deliberate and by fall, Congress usually appropriates funding. This process takes approximately 18 months before the NIH can allocate any actual funds.26
NIH employs five broad decision criteria in its funding policy. First, ensure the highest quality of scientific research by employing an arduous peer review process. Second, seize opportunities that have the greatest potential to yield new knowledge and that will lead to better prevention and treatment of disease. Third, maintain a diverse research portfolio in order to capitalize on major discoveries in a variety of fields such as cell biology, genetics, physics, engineering, and computer science. Fourth, address public health needs according to the disease burden (e.g., prevalence and mortality). And fifth, construct and support the scientific infrastructure (e.g., well-equipped laboratories and safe research facilities) necessary to conduct research.27
In 2007 the director of the agency stated ,,responsibilities for identifying ... FCOIs (financial conflict of interest) must remain with grantee institutions” but institutions that administer grants have no interest to identify grantee's conflicts of interest.28
The NIH issued dozens of waivers for NIH's advisory committee members up to 2012. Such waivers exempt a conflicted government employee from ethics laws. Since 2005 the US Office of Government Ethics had documented only three times where the NIH consulted with the office as required by law, and none of the waivers in question had to do with a member of an advisory committee.29 Advisory committee members advise the Institute on policy and procedures affecting the external research programs and provide a second level of review for all grant and cooperative agreement applications considered by the Institute for funding.30
The NIH funding policy has changed in several significant ways over time. First, the amount of money given to the NIH has increased, most significantly in the last few decades. For example, in 1999, Congress increased the NIH's budget by $2.3 billion.31 (to $17.2 billion in 2000)32 In 2009 Congress again increased the NIH budget to $31 billion in 2010.32 These budgetary increases have allowed NIH to fund more research. The proportion of funding allocated to the individual ICs does not change much over time, but the overall amount of funding each IC receives has increased significantly.33 Second, with the creation of the various ICs, the responsibility to allocate funding to researchers has shifted from the OD and Advisory Committee to the individual ICs. Additionally, Congress increasingly sets apart funding for particular causes. In the 1970s, Congress began to earmark funds specifically for cancer research and in the 1980s there was a significant amount allocated for AIDS/HIV research.31 Congress has continued to play an active role in allotting funds for specified research. These are some of the most significant changes in NIH funding policy over the last century.
A few of the key issues in evaluating NIH funding policy were previously mentioned in the paper as the five criteria the NIH has established. Three of the criteria are particularly relevant. First, is the NIH ensuring the highest quality of research by fairly implementing their peer review process and allocating extramural research funds? Second, is the NIH maximizing opportunities to produce research that yields new knowledge that will lead to better disease prevention and treatment? Next, are public health needs being addressed according to the public disease burden; in other words, are the most important needs of society being met rather than those of special interest groups. These are the most important issues in evaluating NIH funding policy.
Many groups are highly invested in NIH funding. Two key stakeholders will be addressed in the following portion of this paper; namely the general public and extramural researchers. Extramural researchers are directly impacted by NIH funding and the general public is providing the funds and should be receiving the benefits.
General Public: One of the goals of the NIH is to "expand the base in medical and associated sciences in order to ensure a continued high return on the public investment in research."34 Taxpayer dollars funding NIH are from the taxpayers, making them the primary beneficiaries of advances in research. Thus, the general public is a key stakeholder in the decisions resulting from the NIH funding policy. Congress theoretically represents the public interest as the NIH Advisory Committee allocates to the NIH, and the funds to the Director.35 However, many in the general public do not feel their interests are being accurately represented. As a result, individuals have formed patient advocacy groups to represent their own interests.36 Patient advocacy groups tend to focus on specific aspects of health care or diseases. Advocates get involved in many different areas such as organizing awareness campaigns, promoting patients' rights, and enhancing health policy initiatives. Most importantly, patient advocacy groups are oftentimes involved with advisory panels to ensure that current projects and those projects being considered for funding will directly impact patients' lives, improve delivery of care, and provide support for tertiary care. Advocacy groups strive to promote a health care system that is beneficial for all parties involved. Through congressional representation, NIH Advisory Committee efforts, and patient advocacy groups, the public is able to influence funding allocation as well as the policy itself.37
Extramural Researchers and Scientists: Other important stakeholders of the NIH funding policy are the researchers and scientists themselves. Extramural researchers differ from intramural researchers in that they are not employed by the NIH but must apply for funding. Throughout the history of the NIH, the amount of funding received has increased, but the proportion to each IC remains relatively constant. The individual ICs then decide who will receive the grant money and how much will be allotted. Research funding is important to extramural researchers for multiple reasons. Without the help of an NIH grant (or a similar type of funding), researchers and scientists are unable to pursue their own research interests but are obliged to follow the agenda of the company or university for which they work. This could potentially hinder discoveries in novel research areas. In 2000, Brian Jacobs and Lars Lefgren researched extensively the impact of NIH grants on basic research and development, and the careers of grant recipients. For the period of 1980–2000, they reviewed all postdoctoral research grants and standard research grants for those who received funding and those who did not.38 Jacobs and Lefgren found that scientists who received postdoctoral research grants were 20 percent more likely to be published within the first five years after receiving the grant.38 They also found that scientists who received grants were 11 percent more likely to have one publication and 23 percent more likely to have five publications. Due to the 'publish or perish' standard that many researchers face, NIH funding can have a great impact on researchers' careers.38 Receiving a standard research grant also has a significant impact on researchers. Young scientists who receive a first-time grant (R01) usually produce more than one additional publication in the five-year period after they receive the grant. Those who receive an NIH grant will typically receive $252,000 more in NIH funding in the following six to ten years,38 and a statistically significant relationship exists between scientists receiving NIH grants and their research productivity throughout their careers.
Policy changes on who receives funding also significantly affect researchers. For example, the NIH has recently attempted to approve more first-time NIH R01 applicants, or the research grant applications of young scientists. To encourage the participation of young scientists who potentially think outside the box, the application process has been shortened and made easier.39 In addition, first-time applicants are being offered more funding for their research grants than those who have received grants in the past.40 Although this change provides greater opportunities for young scientists, it also places older, more experienced scientists at a funding disadvantage.
|This section requires expansion. (August 2011)|
NIH devotes 10% of its funding to research within its own facilities (intramural research). The institution gives 80% of its funding in research grants to extramural (outside) researchers. The extramural funding consists of about 50,000 grants to more than 325,000 researchers at more than 3000 institutions.41 In FY 2010[update], NIH spent US$10.7bn (not including temporary funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) on clinical research, US$7.4bn on genetics-related research, US$6.0bn on prevention research, US$5.8bn on cancer, and US$5.7bn on biotechnology.42
February 13, 2012 the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced a new group of individuals assigned to research pain. This committee is composed of researchers from different organizations and will focus to "coordinate pain research activities across the federal government with the goals of stimulating pain research collaboration… and providing an important avenue for public involvement" ("Members of new," 2012). With a committee such as this research will not be conducted by each individual organization or person but instead a collaborating group which will increase the information available. With this hopefully more pain management will be available including techniques for arthritis sufferers.
In September 2006, a contract for the NIH Toolbox for the Assessment of Neurological and Behavioral Function (www.nihtoolbox.org) was initiated by the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research (www.neuroscienceblueprint.nih.gov) to develop a set of state-of-the-art measurement tools to enhance collection of data in large cohort studies and to advance the biomedical research enterprise. The NIH Toolbox was officially rolled out to the research community on September 10–11, 2012 at a public conference "Unveiling the NIH Toolbox" held in Bethesda, MD and Washington, DC. Scientists from more than 100 institutions nationwide contributed to the development of the NIH Toolbox. The construction of NIH Toolbox assessments is based, where possible, on Item Response Theory and adapted for testing by computer.
In 2000, a report from a Joint Economic Committee of Congress outlined the benefits of NIH research. It noted that some econometric studies had given its research, which was funded at $16 billion a year in 2000, a rate of return of 25 to 40 percent per year. It also found that of the 21 drugs with the highest therapeutic impact on society introduced between 1965 and 1992, public funding was "instrumental" for 15.43
In 2011 and 2012, the OIG published a series of audit reports revealing that throughout the fiscal years 2000-2010, institutes under the aegis of the NIH, did not comply with the time and amount requirements specified in appropriations statutes, in awarding federal contracts to commercial partners, committing the federal government to tens of millions of dollars of expenditure ahead of appropriation of funds from Congress.4445464748495051
In 2011, a paper published in Science found that black researchers were 10% less likely to win NIH R01 grants (the oldest and most widely-used) than white researchers, after controlling for "educational background, country of origin, training, previous research awards, publication record, and employer characteristics." It also found that black researchers are significantly less likely to resubmit an unapproved grant than white researchers.52 The study lead and economist Donna Grant said that grant reviewers do not have access to the applicant race, but may infer it from biographies or names. She also speculated that the decreased re-submission rate may be due to lack of mentoring. The study, which was commissioned by the NIH, included in its analysis 83,000 grant applications, made between 2000 and 2006.53 Dr. Otis W. Brawley, chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society and a black man, commented on the cause of the disparity as one unrelated to racism per se, but rather to the reviewers' unconscious tendency to more likely give the benefit of the doubt to someone they are familiar with, in a scientific world where black researchers tend to keep a lower profile than other groups. The study did not reveal similar difficulties for members of other races and ethnic groups (e.g., Hispanics).53
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: National Institutes of Health|
- Official website
- US Scientific Grant Funding Database
- Regional Medical Programs Collection of information on NIH's Regional Medical Programs, from the National Library of Medicine
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