No increase for NIH in proposed 2009 U.S. budget

February 20, 2008, Washington, D.C.--According to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), while the 2009 federal budget proposal announced this month by U.S. President George Bush includes increases for basic physical sciences and most other parts of the R&D portfolio, it keeps biomedical funding at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) flat.

February 20, 2008, Washington, D.C.--According to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), while the 2009 federal budget proposal announced this month by U.S. President George Bush includes increases for basic physical sciences and most other parts of the R&D portfolio, it keeps biomedical funding at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) flat.

The President's 2009 budget continues to propose large increases for the three physical sciences agencies related to the American Competitiveness Initiative (ACI) as well as human spacecraft development. It also offers mostly increases in other parts of the federal R&D portfolio, but with cuts in key agricultural and environmental R&D agencies and a flat line for NIH biomedical research.

The federal investment in basic and applied research would fall 0.5% to $57.1 billion in 2009 as proposed gains in the ACI agencies would be offset by cuts in other agencies' research funding, primarily cuts in congressional earmarks. In real terms, the federal investment would fall 9% in inflation-adjusted dollars between 2004 and 2009.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) would receive exactly the same amount ($29.5 billion) in 2009 as in 2008; nearly all of NIH's institutes and centers would also get the same budgets as this year, leaving NIH 13% below the 2004 funding level after adjusting for biomedical research inflation. The number of new grants, the average real size of a grant, and the expected success rate for grant competitions are all expected to fall in 2009.

The AAAS Preliminary Analysis of R&D in the FY 2009 Budget is now available on the AAAS R&D Web site (www.aaas.org), with highlights of R&D in the President's proposed FY 2009 budget, budget proposals for the major R&D funding agencies, historical trends, impacts on key scientific areas, and the outlook for these proposals in the upcoming appropriations process. The analysis contains seven charts and seven detailed tables summarizing R&D in the FY 2009 budget. Additional information, charts, and data are available on the new "FY 2009 R&D" page on the AAAS R&D Web site as HTML and PDF.

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