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Update: Obama's 2010 Budget Proposes $30.8B for NIH

This article has been updated to include additional information about President Obama's proposed budget related to research funding.

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – In a $3.6 trillion budget delivered to Congress today, the Obama Administration has requested increased funding for all of the major agencies that conduct research, including a 1.5 percent increase for the National Institutes of Health, for Fiscal Year 2010.

Under the budget proposal, NIH would receive $30.76 billion for the year, an increase of $443 million over what the health research agency received in 2009, excluding the $10.4 billion NIH received this year under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

President Barack Obama has asked Congress for a 9 percent increase in funding for the National Science Foundation, to $7 billion; for $2.3 billion for research at the Department of Agriculture; and $652 million for the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

The White House also has asked for an increase of $295 million for the Food and Drug Administration to $2.4 billion.

Of the $30.9 billion in total R&D spending the budget requests for the Department of Health and Human Services, $30.2 billion goes to NIH and $752 million will fund R&D at other HHS agencies.

The National Human Genome Research Institute would receive $510 million, compared to $502 million a year ago. The National Cancer Institute would receive $5.2 billion, an increase of $181 million over 2009. NIH's Office of the Director would take a cut, receiving $1.2 billion, $64 million less than in fiscal 2009.

This budget aims to spend a total of $6 billion for cancer research across NIH, and represents the opening of the Obama Administration's plan to double cancer research spending by 2017. This increase includes a 5 percent increase over the estimated 2009 level in cancer studies, NIH said.

NIH also plans to increase its spending on autism spectrum disorders by $19 million, to $141 million, if the 2010 budget passes.

The funding request seeks $549 million for the NIH Common Fund, a 1.5 percent bump over 2009, making it 1.8 percent of the total NIH budget. Some of the original Roadmap for Medical Research money within the Common Fund will end their incubator phases in this fiscal year, NIH said.

In addition, the NIH Director's Bridge Award program will be suspended in fiscal 2010 because it received funds from the ARRA stimulus package.

Next year's proposed budget also would increase support for research centers to $3.1 billion, $40 million over this year's level, NIH said. Some of those funds will continue to provide growth for the Clinical and Translational Science Awards.

The Office of the Director plans to increase funds for trans-NIH oversight activities by $5 million.

NIH said that the Therapeutic Rare and Neglected Disease Initiative, a new program focused on drug development for rare diseases that uses chemical genomics centers created through the Common Fund, would maintain the $24 million it received for fiscal 2009.

The new program for Undiagnosed Diseases is slotted to receive $1.8 million in 2010 from each of the institutes and centers and an additional $1.8 million from the Office of the Director.

Under the proposal, NIH would continue to provide $300 million for the Global Fund for HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, while the Genes, Environment and Health Initiative will not receive an increase of 2009.

"We in the science and technology community have done better than just about any other constituency" represented in the budget, Obama's Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, John Holdren, said at a press briefing today.

"We have in the White House a president who … believes that investment in science and technology are just that, investments," Holdren said.

In an unveiling of the budget for HHS agencies, Director Kathleen Sebelius said that while the biomedical research community has received funding increases for 2009 through the budget and through the stimulus funding, and an increase has been requested for the 2010 budget, that does not mean increases should be taken for granted in the coming years.

Sebelius said it is "clear that we need to start foreshadowing what happens in FY11 and work with Congress in continuing this research."

She added that she is "optimistic that although we didn't need additional resources in the 2010 budget, we certainly need to begin working on 2011 and 2012."

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