The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) has updated its analysis of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Funding Trends, incorporating newly released data from NIH and President Obama’s FY 2016 Budget recommendations. FASEB found that:
- After devastating cuts in FY 2013 mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA), NIH provided a sharp increase in funding for research project grants (RPGs) in FY 2014, awarding 931 (11 percent) more grants than in FY 2013
- The success rates for RPG applications rose for the first time since FY 2008. Despite the small increases, success rates remained below 20 percent
- The President’s FY 2016 budget request of $31.3 billion for NIH represents a $1 billion, or 3.3 percent, increase over the FY 2015 level. If approved by Congress, this budget will be the highest in the agency’s history. However, as NIH funding has either been cut or failed to outpace rising costs in 12 of the past 13 years, the budget would still remain 22 percent below the FY 2003 level in constant dollars (Fig. 1)
FASEB noted that the increased funding proposed in the president’s budget and continued improvement in success rates will not occur unless the threat of sequestration is eliminated. Sequestration was suspended in FY 2014 and 2015, but will return in 2016 through 2021, reducing the federal budget by 8.2 percent any time it is triggered by the BCA. FASEB is urging Congress and the president to prevent sequestration and its automatic, across-the-board cuts.