Institution Bulletin vol 4, issue 1
Under the auspices of bipartisanship, the U.S. Congress and President Barack Obama passed the 2014 Omnibus Appropriations Bill in mid-January to fund the U.S. government through September 30. Here are some of the increases in funding that were included in the bill:
- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – $217 million above 2013’s fiscal year amount – as well as expansions for other government agencies responsible for researcher research
- The Department of Defense saw surges in its medical research programs including $200 million for the Peer-Reviewed Medical Research Program, $125 million for Traumatic Brain Injury and Psychological Health studies, and $120 million for breast cancer research
- The National Institutes of Health (NIH) obtained a $1 billion increase over its 2013’s fiscal year allotment (albeit this is below the pre-Sequester 2012 budget level).
Another highlight of the bill is the expansion of public access to a larger portion of Federally-funded research – a mandate to which only the NIH was previously bound. Under the new provision, any research budgeted at $100 million or more would have to be made available to the public online within 1 year of being published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Iowa’s Senator Tom Harkin (D) was a key player in getting the original NIH access put into law. The Senator told the Washington Post, “Expanding this policy to public health and education research is a step toward a more transparent government and better science.”
Despite the bill’s escalation of funding – which will allow current programs to continue and permit approximately 385 new research studies – many in the investigative field criticized the amount as being insufficient, especially since the 2013 sequester gutted many competitive research grants and forced deep staffing cuts. Many believe that government-funded research remains a crucial part of the drug and device development industry. For example, NIH endowments routinely provide funding for those types of research considered too risky or unconventional for private investors.