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FYI Number 69: July 2, 2007

Senate Appropriators Recommend 2.5% NIBIB Increase for FY 2008

The Senate Appropriations Committee has completed its version of the FY 2008 Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Bill. Under this legislation, the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) would receive an increase of 2.5 percent or $7.43 million. The House Appropriations Committee has not released its bill.

NIBIB is part of the National Institutes of Health. Under S. 1710, the total NIH budget would increase 3.5 percent, or $1.0 billion in FY 2008, from $28.9 billion to $29.9 billion. Of interest is language in the report accompanying this bill regarding NIH's funding history in the years since its budget was doubled, which can be found at the end of this FYI.

NIBIB received its first budget of $111.9 million in FY 2002, increasing to $278.3 million the following year.

Under this bill, the NIBIB budget would increase from $296.9 million to $304.3 million. The Bush Administration requested $300.5 million for NIBIB in FY 2008. See http://www.aip.org/fyi/2007/020.html for further information on this request.

The subcommittee that wrote this report is chaired by Tom Harkin (D-IA); Arlen Specter (R-PA) is the Ranking Member. The section of Senate Report 110-107 pertaining to NIBIB follows:

"The Committee recommends an appropriation of $304,319,000 for the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering [NIBIB]. The budget request is $300,463,000 and the fiscal year 2007 appropriation was $296,887,000. The comparable amounts for the budget estimate include funds to be transferred from the Office of AIDS Research.

"As explained in the opening section on the NIH, the budget request includes a contribution to the Common Fund equal to 1.3 percent of the Institute's budget. The other amounts above do not include any contribution for the Common Fund.

"Artificial Pancreas - A fully automated pancreas that responds rapidly to changes in diet, physical activity, and metabolic status has the potential to improve daily glucose control and dramatically reduce the risk of long-term diabetic complications. The NIBIB is urged to foster research on algorithms that can replicate normal glucose control and accurately close the loop between glucose monitoring and insulin treatment.

"Imaging Beta Cells - The ability to painlessly and non-invasively visualize pancreatic islets in people with type 1 diabetes has the potential to revolutionize diagnosis and therapy of type 1 diabetes. The Committee recognizes the NIBIB, along with the NIA [Aging], NIAID [Allergy and Infectious Diseases], and NIDDK [Digestive and Kidney Diseases], for their collaborative efforts to promote research on the development of new islet imaging technologies. The Committee encourages the NIBIB and NIDDK to support translational research efforts to convert advances made in imaging of islets in animal models into technologies that can be applied to human type 1 diabetes patients."

"Positron emission tomography [PET] - The Committee continues to encourage the NIBIB to devote significant resources to molecular imaging technologies such as PET and microPET to take advantage of the capacities of molecular imaging to detect disease process at the molecular level and to monitor the effectiveness of targeted gene therapies now under development. The Committee also encourages the NIBIB to collaborate with other, disease-specific Institutes at NIH, so that new imaging technologies are closely tied to the research projects being undertaken throughout the NIH."

Of additional interest in the report is the opening language regarding the National Institutes of Health and its recent funding history following its budget doubling:

"When the 5-year effort to double funding for the National Institutes of Health ended in fiscal year 2003, few could have imagined that the agency would be in the position it finds itself today. After 4 years of stagnant budgets, its funding has dropped 8.3 percent in real terms. The overall success rate for research project grants stands at just 21 percent. Young investigators have only the slimmest chance of getting approved on their first try, and even some well-established biomedical researchers are leaving the field.

"The impact of this funding squeeze goes far beyond those directly involved in awarding and receiving grants. More importantly, it threatens the pace of biomedical research and could delay cures and treatments that are within reach. And the ripple effect could be felt for decades to come if, as feared, we lose the next generation of scientists to other careers.

"The Committee took steps to reverse this trend in the fiscal year 2007 joint funding resolution, which increased NIH funding by $570,000,000 – enough to launch the National Children's Study, add another 500 research grants, and provide additional funding for high-risk grants and young investigators.

"Regrettably, the [Bush Administration's] budget request calls for cutting NIH funding by $278,646,000, for a total of $28,621,241,000. The Committee recommendation rejects that cut and instead provides a $1,000,000,000 increase over the fiscal year 2007 appropriation, for a total of $29,899,887,000. This amount will allow the NIH, for the first time since fiscal year 2005, to plan on increasing the average costs of new grants (by 3 percent) and provide the full 'committed level' for noncompeting grants."

Richard M. Jones
Media and Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics
fyi@aip.org
301-209-3095

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