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FYI Number 18: February 14, 2002

Request for National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering

The Bush Administration has requested an 8.4%, or $9.36 million, increase for the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering. Under this request, the budget for this new institute at NIH would increase from $112.02 million to $121.38 million. The NIBIB was recently established, and is described as follows in its budget justification document:

"The mission of the NIBIB is to improve health by promoting fundamental discoveries, design and development, and translation and assessment of technological capabilities in biomedical imaging and bioengineering, enabled by relevant areas of physics, chemistry, mathematics, materials science, information science, and computer sciences. In carrying out its mission, the Institute will be actively planning, conducting, fostering, and supporting an integrated and coordinated program of research grants and research training that can be applied to a broad spectrum of biological processes, disorders, diseases and organ systems. The research promoted and supported by NIBIB will be multidisciplinary and strongly synergistic with the other NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs) as well as across government agencies, and will have the potential for direct positive medical application. Ultimately, NIBIB will seek to translate research findings from the laboratory into practical solutions that will benefit the public health." The document describes this time as a "coming of age" for biomedical imaging and bioengineering.

Later in the document, the research that will be sponsored by the Division of Biomedical Imaging and the Division of Bioengineering is described: "The Division of Biomedical Imaging will support research that is focused on the following areas: development of imaging devices for evaluation of all levels of biological material; improvement of imaging techniques including image reconstruction, image processing and image display; design and synthesis of target-specific contrast agents to enhance images; and study of informatics and computer sciences related to imaging." "The Division of Bioengineering will support research that is focused on the following areas: development of biomaterials including implants, prostheses, and artificial organs; enhancement of biosensor technology; exploitation of novel properties and phenomena at the nanoscale level for the eventual application to nanotechnology; and improvement of bioinformatic capability."

On-going research currently funded by NIBIB in biomedical imaging includes integrated functional brain imaging, improvements in Single-Photon Emission Computed Tomography Imaging and the development of a low-cost, high quality Magnetic Resonance Imaging head scanner. In FY 2003, NIBIB anticipates expanding its support to include research in nanoscale materials for drug production, discovery and delivery; biomedical imaging technology development; real time and multi-measurement sensors for research and medicine; informatics in biomedical imaging; and a training initiative.

As a measure of the new institute's activities, the document states: "Future promises for advancement in medical research rest in part with new investigators with new ideas. In the Fiscal Year 2003 request, NIBIB will support an estimated 74 pre- and postdoctoral trainees in full-time training positions, the same number as in FY 2002. Stipend levels for NRSA trainees will increase by 4 percent over Fiscal Year 2002 levels. The Fiscal Year 2003 request includes funding for 2 research centers, 14 other research grants, including 6 clinical career awards, and 9 R&D contracts. Research Management and Support receives an increase of close to 9.9 percent over FY 2002."

Richard M. Jones
Media and Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics
(301) 209-3095

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