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TRENDS IN NIH FUNDING (1992-2013)

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) provides more support for biomedical research than any agency in the world. About 75% of the total NIH budget is allocated to its external Extramural Programs and the remainder supports internal Intramural Research and other activities such as the National Library of Medicine, the Center for Information Technology, and the Fogarty International Center, which supports global health. 

In the first session of the 105th Congress (January 1997), Senate Republicans initiated the successful effort to double the NIH budget. This proposal had bipartisan support in both the House and Senate as was passed into law in 1998. This resulted in a large 15% increase in the 1999 budget with larger increases through 2003 (Fig. 1). This was accompanied by an increase in R01-type research grant (R01, R29, and R37) funding from $5.9 to $10 billion dollars (1998-2003). R01 awards and their equivalent (R29, no longer given, and R37 Merit Awards) are grants that support most independent laboratories. P01 Program Project Grants support broadly based multidisciplinary programs made up of a group of investigators. These are a few of the 240 different types of grants supported by the NIH. The allocation of all extramural funds (research grants, training grants, fellowships, faculty salary support grants, etc.) increased from $10.9 to $21.9 billion (1998-2003). The number of all awards increased from 41,504 to 55,448 and the number of R01-type awards increased from 18,662 in 1998 to 21,995 in 2003 (Fig. 2). The total NIH budget peaked in 2010, the total Extramural support in 2011, and the total number of Extramural awards in 2006 (Table 1). 

Since 2010, the total NIH budget has declined somewhat along with most other NIH metrics. The sequestration in 2013 has further accelerated this decline, but perhaps not as much as one might have expected. The total number of Principal Investigators (PIs) receiving grants decreased from 37,418 in 2011 to 36,863 (– 555) in 2012 and the number of PIs receiving R01-type of grants declined from 20,663 to 20,142 (– 521). The total number of PIs receiving grants decreased from 36,863 in 2012 to 36,197 (– 666) in 2013 and the number of PIs receiving R01-type of grants declined from 20,142 to 19,251 (– 891). These relative declines are small when compared with the R37 Merit awards and the P01 Program Project Awards. The number of R37 Merit awards peaked at 1402 in 1995 and has been steadily declining to 660 in 2013. The number of Program Project Grants peaked at 1224 in 2002 and has declined to 647 in 2013, representing nearly a 50% decline in both types of Awards (Fig. 3). 

There were 28,698 funded investigators in 1998 and 38,361 in 2007, an increase of only 34% despite the 110% increase in the total NIH budget (Table 1). The percentage of reviewed grant applications that received funding (success rates) was about 31% in 1998, but only about 22% in 2007 (the year that the total number of PIs peaked as noted in Table 1).

The sequestration of 2013 decreased the total NIH budget by 5%. However, the total number of PIs that receive these funds declined by only 1.8% when compared with 1.4% the year before the sequestration. However, the record of the NIH in supporting meritorious research is exemplary, and every effort not only to maintain, but to increase the NIH budget is warranted. Not only would this benefit the health of the nation and world, it would also have a favorable economic impact as reported by Research!America.

The story is somewhat different when inflation is taken into account. In constant 1998 dollars, the total NIH budget increased from $13.7 in 1998 to $22.9 billion in 2004, a 67% increase and not a 100% increase (Fig. 4). The maximal funding of R01 equivalents also peaked in 2004. The total NIH budget decreased from $22.9 in 2004 to $17.8 in 2013, a 22% decrease in constant dollars. Note that the support for Intramural Research support has held steady from 2004 to 2012 (Table 2). The total NIH budget increased from $13.7 in 1998 to $17.8 billion in 2013, which represents only a 30% increase in constant dollars. 

All of the data on Extramural grant support were obtained from the Worldwide Data file for each year (1992-2013), which are available on the NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools (RePORT). These reports list every Extramural award made each year including the grant number (R01, R37 P01, etc.), the names of each Awardee (one per grant), the amount of the award, the project title, etc. One shortcoming of specifying a single Principal Investigator per award is that a grant made to multiple PIs (e.g., P01 awards) undercounts the actual number of funded investigators listed in Tables 1 and 2. For additional information from the NIH on multiple PIs, which is listed as a Note, click here. The data on the total NIH budget and Intramural Research funding were obtained from the NIH Office of Budget. The inflation factors (Biomedical Research and Development Price Index, or BRDPI) were also obtained from the NIH Office of Budget. These files were downloaded on 10-11 March 2014. Please report any discrepancies between the Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research files and the NIH files to Webmaster@brimr.org

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Gentlemen, we've run out of money. It's time to start thinking. Ernest Rutherford

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Trends in NIH funding (1992-2013)

Year Total NIH Budget Total NIH Extramural Support NIH Intramural Research Support Total No. of Awards Total No. of PIs No. of R01s No. of R29s No. of R37s Total No. of R01/29/37 Awards PIs with R01/29/37 Awards No. of P01s PIs with P01s Total funding of R01s Total Funding of R29s Total funding of R37s Total funding R01/29/37 Awards Total funding of P01s Total R01/29/37 and P01 funding % Extra-mural/Total NIH budget
1992 $10,010,368 $8,189,930 $1,132,166 38,404 26,072 18,567 2,793 1,268 22,628 17,453 939 786 $3,580,285 $271,454 $328,593 $4,180,332 $787,401 $4,967,733 82%
1993 $10,328,117 $8,410,216 $1,160,950 38,421 23,570 18,465 2,662 1,320 22,447 17,360 922 774 $3,700,288 $258,836 $361,854 $4,320,978 $796,894 $5,117,872 81%
1994 $10,910,969 $9,576,235 $1,201,091 40,949 27,088 19,585 2,754 1,373 23,712 17,745 970 765 $4,045,089 $267,759 $385,189 $4,698,037 $850,841 $5,548,878 88%
1995 $11,340,841 $10,114,392 $1,222,646 40,693 27,235 19,196 2,874 1,402 23,472 17,455 985 768 $4,182,891 $283,109 $398,633 $4,864,633 $983,711 $5,848,344 89%
1996 $11,880,647 $10,383,279 $1,294,777 40,989 27,656 19,746 2,945 1,263 23,954 17,752 952 755 $4,552,622 $294,064 $379,160 $5,225,846 $931,128 $6,156,974 87%
1997 $12,770,771 $11,147,135 $1,346,127 43,261 28,652 21,152 3,001 1,120 25,273 18,331 1,034 779 $5,039,654 $300,495 $339,613 $5,679,762 $955,517 $6,635,279 87%
1998 $13,686,859 $10,932,419 $1,434,635 41,504 28,698 21,466 2,893 959 25,318 18,622 940 785 $5,351,054 $298,084 $298,876 $5,948,014 $934,404 $6,882,418 80%
1999 $15,643,275 $13,961,551 $1,564,547 48,215 30,563 25,184 2,466 960 28,610 19,743 1,073 861 $6,577,231 $244,656 $304,097 $7,125,984 $1,127,109 $8,253,093 89%
2000 $17,813,739 $16,295,305 $1,746,220 50,983 31,848 27,501 1,742 927 30,170 20,433 1,181 904 $7,642,808 $175,876 $304,668 $8,123,352 $1,277,395 $9,400,747 91%
2001 $20,513,056 $17,814,625 $1,952,318 51,888 32,606 28,900 1,034 917 30,851 21,032 1,204 959 $8,483,461 $104,434 $321,542 $8,909,437 $1,413,746 $10,323,183 87%
2002 $23,188,233 $20,426,068 $2,225,292 55,734 34,196 30,543 549 932 32,024 22,556 1,224 960 $9,409,209 $47,153 $331,781 $9,788,143 $1,494,980 $11,283,123 88%
2003 $26,739,904 $21,866,776 $2,564,664 55,448 35,870 30,356 0 917 31,273 21,955 1,117 966 $9,759,088 $0 $337,796 $10,096,884 $1,462,421 $11,559,305 82%
2004 $28,099,772 $22,900,576 $2,658,853 56,990 37,851 30,677 0 919 31,596 22,146 1,063 947 $10,193,203 $0 $362,404 $10,555,607 $1,501,650 $12,057,257 81%
2005 $28,626,151 $23,410,118 $2,737,865 57,255 38,131 30,004 0 942 30,946 21,964 1,031 902 $10,305,647 $0 $379,584 $10,685,231 $1,496,520 $12,181,751 82%
2006 $28,532,979 $23,182,959 $2,745,676 57,937 38,009 29,413 0 935 30,348 21,783 944 842 $10,139,093 $0 $383,257 $10,522,350 $1,439,958 $11,962,308 81%
2007 $29,033,869 $23,501,391 $3,035,833 56,527 38,361 29,045 0 921 29,966 21,596 912 810 $10,045,800 $0 $381,970 $10,427,770 $1,376,058 $11,803,828 81%
2008 $29,319,954 $23,492,231 $3,091,240 55,384 37,620 28,202 0 898 29,100 21,079 832 760 $9,956,033 $0 $375,703 $10,331,736 $1,292,158 $11,623,894 80%
2009 $30,206,690 $21,703,918 $3,222,852 53,504 37,551 27,966 0 850 28,816 20,870 810 725 $10,261,795 $0 $361,748 $10,623,543 $1,273,475 $11,897,018 72%
2010 $31,036,218 $21,312,495 $3,306,312 50,879 37,484 27,581 0 797 28,378 20,733 753 686 $10,552,313 $0 $348,909 $10,901,222 $1,201,888 $12,103,110 69%
2011 $30,630,328 $23,991,237 $3,330,815 53,338 37,418 27,001 0 756 27,757 20,663 746 676 $10,524,481 $0 $333,409 $10,857,890 $1,225,821 $12,083,711 78%
2012 $30,802,123 $22,268,668 $3,400,607 52,206 36,863 26,723 0 720 27,443 20,142 677 618 $10,581,952 $0 $317,004 $10,898,956 $1,116,201 $12,015,157 72%
2013 $29,151,463 $22,525,484

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51,599 36,197 25,453 0 660 26,113 19,251 647 581 $9,795,206 $0 $280,279 $10,075,485 $1,021,537 $11,097,022 77%

Trends in NIH funding (1992-2013) corrected for inflation in 1998 dollars

Year Total NIH Budget Total NIH Extramural Support NIH Intramural Research Support Total No. of Awards Total No. of PIs No. of R01s No. of R29s No. of R37s Total No. of R01/29/37 Awards PIs with R01/29/37 Awards No. of P01s PIs with P01s Total funding of R01s Total Funding of R29s Total funding of R37s Total funding R01/29/37 Awards Total funding of P01s Total R01/29/37 and P01 funding % Extra-mural/Total NIH budget Inflation factor
1992 $12,122,556 $9,918,005 $1,371,053 38,404 26,072 18,567 2,793 1,268 22,628 17,453 939 786 $4,335,725 $328,731 $397,926 $5,062,382.052 $953,543 $6,015,925 82% 1.211
1993 $12,094,225 $9,848,363 $1,359,472 38,421 23,570 18,465 2,662 1,320 22,447 17,360 922 774 $4,333,037 $303,097 $423,731 $5,059,865.238 $933,163 $5,993,028 81% 1.171
1994 $12,307,573 $10,801,993 $1,354,831 40,949 27,088 19,585 2,754 1,373 23,712 17,745 970 765 $4,562,860 $302,032 $434,493 $5,299,385.736 $959,749 $6,259,134 88% 1.128
1995 $12,361,517 $11,024,687 $1,332,684 40,693 27,235 19,196 2,874 1,402 23,472 17,455 985 768 $4,559,351 $308,589 $434,510 $5,302,449.970 $1,072,245 $6,374,695 89% 1.090
1996 $12,629,128 $11,037,426 $1,376,348 40,989 27,656 19,746 2,945 1,263 23,954 17,752 952 755 $4,839,437 $312,590 $403,047 $5,555,074.298 $989,789 $6,544,863 87% 1.063
1997 $13,204,977 $11,526,138 $1,391,895 43,261 28,652 21,152 3,001 1,120 25,273 18,331 1,034 779 $5,211,002 $310,712 $351,160 $5,872,873.908 $988,005 $6,860,878 87% 1.034
1998 $13,686,859 $10,932,419 $1,434,635 41,504 28,698 21,466 2,893 959 25,318 18,622 940 785 $5,351,054 $298,084 $298,876 $5,948,014.000 $934,404 $6,882,418 80% 1.000
1999 $15,158,333 $13,528,743 $1,516,046 48,215 30,563 25,184 2,466 960 28,610 19,743 1,073 861 $6,373,337 $237,072 $294,670 $6,905,078.496 $1,092,169 $7,997,247 89% 0.969
2000 $16,638,032 $15,219,815 $1,630,969 50,983 31,848 27,501 1,742 927 30,170 20,433 1,181 904 $7,138,383 $164,268 $284,560 $7,587,210.768 $1,193,087 $8,780,298 91% 0.934
2001 $18,543,803 $16,104,421 $1,764,895 51,888 32,606 28,900 1,034 917 30,851 21,032 1,204 959 $7,669,049 $94,408 $290,674 $8,054,131.048 $1,278,026 $9,332,157 87% 0.904
2002 $20,289,704 $17,872,810 $1,947,131 55,734 34,196 30,543 549 932 32,024 22,556 1,224 960 $8,233,058 $0 $290,308 $8,564,625.125 $1,308,108 $9,872,733 88% 0.875
2003 $22,621,959 $18,499,292 $2,169,706 55,448 35,870 30,356 0 917 31,273 21,955 1,117 966 $8,256,188 $0 $285,775 $8,541,963.864 $1,237,208 $9,779,172 82% 0.846
2004 $22,901,314 $18,663,969 $2,166,965 56,990 37,851 30,677 0 919 31,596 22,146 1,063 947 $8,307,460 $0 $295,359 $8,602,819.705 $1,223,845 $9,826,664 81% 0.815
2005 $22,471,529 $18,376,943 $2,149,224 57,255 38,131 30,004 0 942 30,946 21,964 1,031 902 $8,089,933 $0 $297,973 $8,387,906.335 $1,174,768 $9,562,675 82% 0.785
2006 $21,399,734 $17,387,219 $2,059,257 57,937 38,009 29,413 0 935 30,348 21,783 944 842 $7,604,320 $0 $287,443 $7,891,762.500 $1,079,969 $8,971,731 81% 0.750
2007 $20,991,487 $16,991,506 $2,194,907 56,527 38,361 29,045 0 921 29,966 21,596 912 810 $7,263,113 $0 $276,164 $7,539,277.710 $994,890 $8,534,168 81% 0.723
2008 $20,230,768 $16,209,639 $2,132,956 55,384 37,620 28,202 0 898 29,100 21,079 832 760 $6,869,663 $0 $259,235 $7,128,897.840 $891,589 $8,020,487 80% 0.690
2009 $20,268,689 $14,563,329 $2,162,534 53,504 37,551 27,966 0 850 28,816 20,870 810 725 $6,885,664 $0 $242,733 $7,128,397.353 $854,502 $7,982,899 72% 0.671
2010 $20,204,578 $13,874,434 $2,152,409 50,879 37,484 27,581 0 797 28,378 20,733 753 686 $6,869,556 $0 $227,140 $7,096,695.522 $782,429 $7,879,125 69% 0.651
2011 $19,388,998 $15,186,453 $2,108,406 53,338 37,418 27,001 0 756 27,757 20,663 746 676 $6,661,996 $0 $211,048 $6,873,044.370 $775,945 $7,648,989 78% 0.633
2012 $19,251,327 $13,917,918 $2,125,379 52,206 36,863 26,723 0 720 27,443 20,142 677 618 $6,613,720 $0 $198,128 $6,811,847.500 $697,626 $7,509,473 72% 0.625
2013 $17,869,847 $13,808,122

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51,599 36,197 25,453 0 660 26,113 19,251 647 581 $6,004,461 $0 $171,811 $6,176,272.305 $626,202 $6,802,474 77% 0.613

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In scientific funding, the best plan is no plan. Arthur Kornberg in "The Golden Helix, Inside Biotech Ventures."

 

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To download the above files in Excel format, click here.

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En principe, oui. A French expression for non. Walter J. Moore

It takes one thousand nanobiologists to make one microbiologist. –  Sydney Brenner
The Nobel Prize is a nice thing to have. But it’s not a great event like a birth or a marriage. – Charles B. Huggins
Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future. –  Niels Bohr (Surprisingly, this is not attributed to Yogi Berra).

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