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Obama's NIH Budget

The very marginal funding bump that President Obama has requested for the US National Institutes of Health for fiscal year 2015 is not likely to elicit a standing ovation from the biomedical research community, which has been pushing Washington, DC, to make up for the budget cut from last year's sequestration and several consecutive years of eroding federal funding.

The less than one percent uptick to $30.36 billion the White House is seeking for NIH most certainly will not keep pace with biomedical inflation, which is expected to be around 2.7 percent this year. The proposal will continue a roughly decade-long funding slump that has seen the agency's research budget.

After the Office of Management and Budget posted the 2015 spending plan yesterday, United for Medical Research pointed out that NIH has seen a 20 percent drop in buying power due to a succession of stagnant funding, inflation, and the sequester, and that its success rate for grants is now one in seven.

“President Obama’s proposed NIH budget won’t meaningfully turn us in the right direction toward restoring hope to millions of patients, advancing scientific innovation and spurring further job growth," UMR says.

Kevin Wilson, of the American Society for Cell Biology tells Nature that "there's not enough money to do anything interesting" in the budget.

The near-flat budget at NIH roughly squares with how science fared in general in the budget proposal, as overall science and technology funding is marked to see an increase of $1.7 billion, or 1.2 percent over this year, to $135.4 billion.

As usual, defense funding accounts for more than all of the other research areas combined in this plan, as it would receive $69.5 billion while non-defense R&D would get $65.9 billion.