NIH Director Testifies Before House Appropriations Subcommittee
NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins and several institute directors testified at an April 28 hearing on the fiscal year (FY) 2011 NIH budget before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies. The President’s FY 2011 budget request for NIH is $32.2 billion, an increase of $1.0 billion, or 3.2 percent above the FY 2010 level. This includes a proposed FY 2011 budget for NCI of $5.26 billion, an increase of $163 million, or 3.2 percent above the FY 2010 NCI budget.
Dr. Collins provided an overview of recent NIH discoveries and advances, including opportunities made possible through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), as well as research priorities to be supported by funding appropriated to NIH for FY 2011. In describing the post-ARRA funding situation, Dr. Collins pointed out that, although the President’s budget does include a funding increase for NIH, the increase is not likely to exceed inflationary increases in research costs, so success rates for grants will likely be lower in FY 2011 than in recent years.
Dr. Collins also focused on NIH’s goal of transforming discovery into health, stating that “Science is not a 100-yard dash. It is a marathon run by a relay team that includes researchers, patients, industry experts, lawmakers, and the public.” He identified five potential areas of opportunities: taking greater advantage of high-throughput technologies, accelerating translational science, helping to reinvent health care, focusing more on global health, and reinvigorating the biomedical research community.
Whereas Dr. Collins’ testimony highlighted research efforts across NIH, he also responded to a number of questions specific to cancer research from members of the subcommittee. He discussed examples of critical progress, including The Cancer Genome Atlas, as well as challenges to address in the coming fiscal year. Specific topics of interest to the subcommittee included pancreatic cancer, childhood cancers, breast cancer screening, and the implementation of recommendations from the Institute of Medicine’s report on the cancer clinical trials system.
More information on the hearing, including Chairman David Obey’s (D-WI) opening statement and Dr. Collins’ testimony for the record, can be found on the subcommittee Web site.
For more information about this and other NCI congressional activity, visit the NCI Office of Government and Congressional Relations Web site.