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What We'd Do With the Money

Appearing before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education, and Related Agencies, US National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins says that the agency's budget request for fiscal year 2016 will enable it to support an increased number of investigator-initiated research projects as well as its BRAIN and Precision Medicine initiatives.

"The budget request allocates resources to areas of the most extraordinary promise for biomedical research, while maintaining the flexibility to pursue unplanned scientific opportunities and address unforeseen health needs," says Collins in his prepared remarks.

President Barack Obama has requested some $31.3 billion for NIH for FY 2016, a $1 billion increase over 2015 funding.

With this funding, Collins estimates that NIH could support 10,303 new and competing Research Project Grants in FY 2016, which he notes would be 1,227 more than the FY 2015 estimate.

In his remarks, Collins also burnishes recent achievements of basic science, such as the development of the gene-editing CRISPR technology, and promotes the new BRAIN initiative to better understand the brain and the recently announced Precision Medicine Initiative.

"A project of this magnitude will lay the foundation for a myriad of new prevention strategies and novel therapeutics," Collins says. "There's no better time than now to embark on this ambitious new enterprise to revolutionize medicine and generate the scientific evidence necessary to move this personal approach into everyday clinical practice."