NIH faces sharper cuts than previously expected

The U.S. National Institutes of Health can expect to face an 8.2 percent budget reduction if Congress fails to reach a budget agreement with the White House over cuts scheduled to take place in January.

The U.S. Office of Management and Budget recently raised the projected size of the NIH cuts from a previous projection of 7.8 percent. Overall, the sequestration plan must reduce spending by $984 billion over the next nine years, according to

The new projections show that the NIH will see a $2.52 billion decline in funding. The NIH received $30.7 billion in funding last year.

NIH Director Francis Collins testified to a Senate subcommittee earlier this year that a decrease in funding could have a dramatic effect. Collins said that 2,300 fewer grants would be awarded if a 7.8 percent cut were enacted.

"That represents almost a quarter of our new and competing grants," he said, reports. "That would result in success rates of our applicants who come in with new applications or competing ones falling to historically low levels. It would be devastating to investigators seeking to continue programs that they have had funded in the past and are back for their competing renewal, or who are starting things that are entirely new."

United for Medical Research, a biomedical science advocacy group, quickly responded to the OMB's report.

"A cut of 8.2 percent to the NIH budget, as presented in today's OMB sequestration report, would jeopardize the entire medical research ecosystem, from research labs to private industry jobs to patients' health," UMR said, reports.

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