President Submits FY 2000 Budget for NIH
On the Front Page...
President Clinton's FY 2000 budget provides $15.9 billion for NIH, a $320 million increase or 2.1 percent over the 1999 level. Foreseen in the investment is a continuation of advances in fundamental science, especially in genetics, structural biology, molecular and cell biology, neuroscience, computer science and imaging technologies, according to budget papers.
"As a result of the generous increase in our FY 1999 budget, the institutes and centers at the NIH have many new initiatives under way, all of which will be continued in FY 2000 and beyond," reads the narrative. These scientific efforts can be summarized as addressing four research themes: exploitation of genomic discoveries; interdisciplinary research; reinvigoration of clinical research; and elimination of health disparities.
Exploiting Genomic Discoveries
The Human Genome Project will be accelerated by increasing capacity at major sequencing centers. Due to a number of methodological advances and increased resources, the expected completion date is now 2003, 2 years earlier than originally projected.
In FY 1999, NIH began the Mouse Genomic and Genetics Project that will serve the research community by developing a laboratory tool for physiologists, developmental biologists, and neurobiologists to better understand mammalian biology. The research will be continued in FY 2000 to define the structure of the entire mouse genome and identify the function of mouse genes by studying gene mutations. Eventually the genomics of other organisms will be determined and used as model systems for learning about human genes and proteins and for testing new treatments.
Engaging Other Disciplines in Medical Research
Optimal use of the vast amount of data being generated from genomic research will require increasingly sophisticated bioinformatics systems requiring the collaboration of researchers from many disciplines, including physicists, mathematicians, chemists and bioengineers. Advances are foreseen in imaging technology, rational drug design and structural biology (aided by powerful synchrotron beamlines).
Reinvigorating Clinical Research
The emphasis here will be increased support of General Clinical Research Centers, more clinical trials, new programs to develop clinical biomarkers in immune diseases, and expanded training of physician scientists (including new grant programs to support the training and mentorship of young physicians aiming for careers in clinical research).
Eliminating Health Disparities
There will be a renewed emphasis on research to understand the causes of disease; to identify and increase knowledge of risk factors for disease; to determine reasons for health disparities that may be associated with race, ethnicity, gender or socioeconomic status; and to understand the role of personal behaviors and environmental factors in health disparities. Sophisticated information from NIH research will benefit citizens in this country and around the globe.
In FY 2000, NIH will support 7,617 competing research project grants. Support for RPGs, including Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer awards will increase by nearly 3 percent over FY 1999. With respect to training, NIH will support nearly 15,700 pre- and postdoctoral trainees in full-time training positions, approximately the same number as in FY 1999. Stipends will remain at the FY 1999 levels.
NIH will participate in two Presidential initiatives: 1) Information Technology for the Twenty-First Century Initiative (IT2) primarily in three areas: software and algorithm research and development in support of genomics, clinical trials and bioinformatics; high-throughput, low-cost clusters of processors that can provide performance needed in laboratories for mid-range, high-performance computing; and training and grants to encourage physicists, engineers, mathematicians and computer scientists to advance computing in biomedical research. The FY 2000 request includes $6 million for this initiative. 2) NIH will also continue to address bioterrorism activities with an emphasis on microbes such as smallpox and anthrax. This research is conducted in collaboration with the Department of Defense.
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