Sequestration Will Deal a $1.6B Blow To NIH
Mon, 2013-03-04 11:00
When sequestration went into effect on March 1, “non-exempt” accounts were to be reduced by a uniform percentage to eliminate the difference between the legislated funding levels and The American Taxpayer Relief Act cap. The Office of Management and Budget estimated that the nonsecurity discretionary category— which includes the National Institutes of Health (NIH)— would be reduced by 5.1 percent, annualized for the full fiscal year.
The Continuing Resolution currently funds the NIH at its FY 2012 level: $30.7 billion. Sequestration will cut the NIH budget by 5.1 percent, resulting in a loss of $1.6 billion. Most of the NIH budget goes to research institutions in all 50 states. These are conservative estimates of what could happen.
The decisions about reductions will be made by each NIH Institute and Center, and the actual funding loss for research at institutions across the country could be much greater.
Administering a reduction of this scale in a short timeframe will be calamitous. It will require arbitrary funding cuts that will prevent critical research projects from reaching completion. Other potentially lifesaving research will not even get off the ground. In anticipation of the possible cuts, NIH funding rates have sunk to an all-time low. There will be further damage to our nation’s health, security, and international competitivenessif the sequestration goes into effect. This is compounding the harm already
done by the failure of research funding to keep pace with the scientific opportunity. As a result of
budgetary constraints, the number ofresearch project grants funded by NIH has declined every year
Since at least 75 percent of the grant budgets are for salaries, the impact of sequestration on employment and local economies will be immediate and severe. It may take us generations to recover the lost talent, as highly trained researchers and dedicated young scientists and engineers are driven from science by the disruption of their training and their work.