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NIH GETS NOMINAL FUNDING INCREASE IN 2004

The NIH budget increased 3.2 percent this year, a modest increase that is a far cry from the 15 percent average increases enjoyed during the NIH budget doubling effort. What will this mean for NINDS grant funding?

Commenting by e-mail, Constance W. Atwell, PhD, Associate Director for Extramural Research at NINDS, said that the NINDS will actually make more competing awards this year than in 2003. To do this, they reduced the amount of grants less than $250,000 annually by 7.5 percent, and grants over $250,000 by 12.5 percent. National Research Service Awards will remain consistent, as they have for several years, she continued, but career development awards will increase. “Providing support for the training and initial career development of neurological scientists is one of the highest priorities for NINDS”, she said.

The NIH budget was finalized as part of the 2004 omnibus appropriations bill – a combination of seven appropriations bills that were not passed last year. The omnibus bill was passed by the Senate and signed by the President barely a week before the continuing resolution maintaining funding for these agencies at 2003 levels was set to expire. The statistics here are from the American Academy for the Advancement of Science's analysis of the 2004 budget, available online here: www.aaas.org/spp/rd/ca04.pdf.

The NINDS and National Institute on Aging received increases of 3.1 and 3.2 percent, respectively, figures typical of most of the Institutes.