NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) has asked Congress to earmark at least $35 billion in funding for the National Institutes of Health and a minimum of $7.96 billion for the National Science Foundation in fiscal year 2017, citing the importance of biomedical research to human health and the US economy.
"The US needs a dynamic and thriving scientific enterprise in order to tackle some of the most vexing challenges and ensure prosperity in the global economy," FASEB said in its annual federal funding recommendations report. "As Congress makes difficult decisions with respect to the budget, scientific research should be considered one of the highest priorities."
Late last year, Congress reached an agreement on a budget for fiscal year 2016 that provided the NIH with $32 billion — $2 billion more than it received the year prior and its biggest funding boost in 12 years. Last month, President Barack Obama issued his budget proposal for fiscal year 2017, calling for a roughly 3 percent increase in NIH funding to $33.1 billion next year.
FASEB, however, has urged Congress to go one step further and raise the NIH's FY2017 budget by more than 9 percent to $35 billion, and to maintain this upward trajectory by increasing the agency's funding $3 billion the following fiscal year.
"NIH needs sustained increases in funding to continue the research that paves the way to new therapies and to respond to urgent public health needs as they arise," FASEB said.
FASEB also called for greater funding to the NSF to help maintain the US's edge in discovery-oriented research across all fields of science and engineering.
The breadth and diversity of NSF's mission makes [it] uniquely suited to pioneer bold, new scientific directions," FASEB stated in its report. Yet its budget has "increased only marginally over the last several years." With $7.96 billion in FY2017 — $500 million more than the NSF received in FY2016 — the agency could fund approximately 500 additional research grants at colleges, universities, and other research centers across the nation.
"Funding at this level is also consistent with a vision of predictable, sustained growth for NSF that has been proposed in past reauthorizations," FASEB added.
In its report, FASEB also called for $664.7 million in funding to the Veterans Affairs Medical and Prosthetic Research program, $700 million for the US Department of Agriculture's Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, and $5.67 billion for the Department of Energy's Office of Science.