The 2014 US budget deal has its good and not-so-good points for biomedical research, ScienceInsider says. The bill contains $29.9 billion for the National Institutes of Health, $7.17 billion for the National Science Foundation, and $5.07 billion for the Department of Energy's Office of Science.
The trillion-dollar spending bill passed the House of Representatives Wednesday and is to go before the Senate this week, the New York Times adds.
While each of theses agencies would receive an increase in funding under this bill, ScienceInsider points out that the physical sciences would enjoy bigger boosts in funds than the biomedical sciences. The NIH budget, for instance, will increase by $1 billion, or 3.5 percent, assuming the bill's passage, while the DOE's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy program will receive an 11.2 percent increase, bringing its total funding to $280 million.
"It's hard not to be pleased with a billion-dollar increase," David Moore, senior director of government relations for the Association of American Medical Colleges, tells ScienceInsider.
Carrie Wolinetz from United for Medical Research says, though, that it "won't adequately reverse the damage done by last year's budget sequester and ensure the nation's biomedical research enterprise makes continued progress."
The Huffington Post notes that while the NIH is receiving an increase — and will be able to support some 385 additional grants in 2014 — its budget is lower than what it was receiving before sequestration, which sliced about 5 percent from its budget and about 640 grants from its books.
And some researchers are concerned, the Huffington Post adds. One researcher, Chris Spaeth, a postdoc at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, writes to HuffPo, saying that he has become "bitter and cynical of the world I initially wanted to help."
"I am not trying to make a product or drug or find a novel gene with limited scope and expression to fix neurodegenerative diseases or repair broken axons," he says. "Instead, I am targeting major regulatory pathways that produce a devastating effect on individual [fruit] flies in order to better understand how and why future downstream targets may lead to an effect."