FY19 Appropriations Bills: National Institutes of Health

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Publication date: 
26 July 2018
Number: 
89

In their fiscal year 2019 spending bills, House and Senate appropriators seek to build on the spending windfall the National Institutes of Health received in fiscal year 2018, proposing to increase funding for the $37 billion biomedical research agency by 3 percent and 5 percent, respectively. Both bills would also maintain last year’s prohibition on changes to research overhead reimbursement rates and policies.

The House and Senate Appropriations Committees have advanced fiscal year 2019 spending bills that would provide another significant funding boost for the National Institutes of Health, following the $3 billion, or 9 percent increase Congress appropriated earlier this year. The Senate proposes an additional 5 percent, or $2 billion increase, which would raise the agency’s budget to $39 billion, while the House proposes a 3 percent, or $1.3 billion increase. 

The increases reflect continued bipartisan support in Congress for NIH, as well as additional support the agency receives through the 21st Century Cures Act — a major medical research reauthorization and funding law enacted in 2016. $711 million of NIH’s appropriation in fiscal year 2019 is set to come from spending set-asides authorized in the 21st Century Cures Act, including for the Cancer Moonshot Initiative, BRAIN Initiative, and “All of Us” Precision Medicine Initiative.

The committees intend to continue blocking the administration from capping the reimbursement rates research institutions receive from NIH as reimbursement for indirect research costs, also known as facilities and administrative costs. House appropriators also explicitly reject the administration’s proposal to limit the percentage of a researcher’s salary that can be paid for through grant funds.

Within the committees’ proposed topline increases, the bills include funding boosts for all of NIH’s 27 institutes and centers. The following chart includes the funding proposals for five institutes especially relevant to the physical sciences.

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FY19 appropriations proposals for the National Institutes of Health

Click to enlarge.

Further details are available in FYI’s Federal Science Budget Tracker. Additional funding direction and policy guidance can be found in the House and Senate Appropriations Committee reports that accompany the bills. A side-by-side comparison of report language provided at the end of this bulletin.

The House committee approved its Labor-Health and Human Services-Education spending bill, which funds NIH, on July 11, and the Senate committee approved its bill on June 28. Senate leaders have discussed advancing it to the floor in combination with the defense spending bill, possibly as soon as next week. It is not clear when House leadership intends to bring its bill to the floor.

Appropriators reject research overhead reimbursement caps, limits to researcher salaries

Indirect cost reimbursement caps. House and Senate appropriators again would prohibit the Trump administration from changing the rules, procedures, or formulas for setting indirect cost rates, which reimburse research institutions for facilities and administrative expenses. As part of its fiscal year 2018 budget request, the administration proposed capping indirect costs at 10 percent of total grant cost, significantly below the current average rate of 28 percent. However, Congress immediately pushed back on the idea, and appears to have ruled it out. Both bills would direct NIH and other federal agencies to apply the indirect cost rate “to the same extent and in the same manner” as in fiscal year 2017.

In letters sent to House and Senate Appropriations Committee leaders, the White House raised concerns that the restriction would keep “agency staff and stakeholders from developing strategies to make federal government programs more effective and efficient.”

Researcher salary limits. House report language rejects the administration’s proposals to cap the percentage of researcher salaries that can be paid with grant funds at 90 percent and reduce the limit for salaries paid with grant funds from $187,000 to $152,000. The administration defends the proposal as a means to “stretch available grant dollars to fund more research,” but the House report expresses concern that the impact of the proposed limits is “unclear,” and requests NIH to analyze the proposals’ potential impact in next year’s budget request. The Senate does not weigh in on the proposals.

Appropriators support 21st Century Cures initiatives, cancer research

Cancer research. Both committees reject the administration’s proposed 6 percent cut to the $6 billion National Cancer Institute, instead both opting to provide a 3 percent increase. That amount includes an $100 million increase already authorized and set aside by the 21st Century Cures Act for the Cancer Moonshot Initiative.

Heavy ion cancer therapy research. The House report notes the committee’s support for research into new cancer therapies based on heavy ion irradiation technology, and encourages NIH to collaborate with the Department of Energy and other federal agencies “to equip the first U.S. heavy ion research center.”  

Other 21st Century Cures initiatives. The committees are aligned in supporting funding for several high-priority NIH initiatives already authorized and set aside through the 21st Century Cures Act, including: a $29 million increase for the BRAIN Initiative, for a total of $115 million; an $86 million increase for the “All of Us” Precision Medicine Initiative, for a total of $186 million; and $10 million for regenerative medicine.

Research Policy Board. In its letters to the appropriations committees articulating the administration’s positions, the White House points out the bills do not provide the administration’s requested funding to establish and operate the Research Policy Board. Created by the 21st Century Cures Act, the board is authorized to recommend ways to modify and harmonize research regulations across the government in order to reduce administrative burdens.

Selected other provisions

Intellectual property protection. Coinciding with growing concerns in Congress over intellectual property theft by foreign nations, the Senate report encourages NIH to “improve the security of NIH intellectual property derived from NIH-funded research” by increasing the security of its peer review systems, monitoring grants applicants’ prior funding from foreign sources, and collaborating with law enforcement officials to identify any potential legal violations.    

The Senate report also expresses “strong concerns” about the Confucius Institutes, which are language and culture educational organizations funded by the Chinese government and established near U.S. universities.

“Given the growing concerns with intellectual property protections,” the Senate report directs NIH to “develop a publicly-available list of Confucius Institutes that have received NIH funding since 2013, along with the amount each institute received.”

Research transparency. As part of efforts to ensure NIH funds “are used to support the most meritorious research,” the Senate report directs NIH to explain, on a publicly accessible website, how “each grant or agreement promotes efforts to seek fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and/or the application of that knowledge to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability.”  The report notes that committee members have “raised concerns and provided examples of questionable research.”

DOE collaboration. The House report calls on NIH to collaborate with the Department of Energy to leverage its high-performance computing facilities for cancer research.

Data science. As part of its efforts to advance data science, NIH recently published a new strategic plan for data science outlining how the agency will address the challenges associated with the effective use of its vast amount of digital scientific data. The agency also announced plans to hire a new chief data strategist to coordinate implementation of the plan across the institutes and centers. The Senate report provides $30 million to support these efforts and calls for quarterly briefings to Congress on implementation of the plan.

Early-career investigators. Both committees focus on supporting more early-career investigators in biomedical research. The Senate report urges NIH to prioritize implementation of its Next Generation Researchers Initiative, which the agency launched last year to increase opportunities for engaging early-career investigators and expand the biomedical workforce.

Report language

The following expandable tabs offer side-by-side comparisons of language from the House and Senate appropriators' reports.

Cross-Institute initiatives

Justification for continued budget increases

Senate: The National Institutes of Health [NIH] is the global leader in medical research, and the Committee provides an increase of $2,000,000,000. Over the past 4 years, the Committee has provided a $9,000,000,000, or 30 percent, increase for NIH after a decade of stagnant funding. The influx of funding prior to this bill since fiscal year 2016 has restored half of the purchasing power lost since the peak year of fiscal year 2003. This year’s increase is estimated to support over 11,400 new and competing grants in fiscal year 2019.

The Committee provides $39,084,000,000 for NIH activities within the jurisdiction of this bill, an increase of 5.4 percent above fiscal year 2018. This includes $1,018,321,000 in transfers available under section 241 of the PHS Act. The Committee continues a reform to section 241 allocations such that no NIH funding will be removed from NIH under this authority. This reform ensures that section 241 transfers are a benefit to NIH rather than a liability. In addition, it improves the transparency of NIH’s budget, so that the enacted total is truly the amount the Committee expects to be used for biomedical research.

Prohibition on altering facilities and administrative costs

House: In making Federal financial assistance, the provisions relating to indirect costs in part 75 of title 45, Code of Federal Regulations, including with respect to the approval of deviations from negotiated rates, shall continue to apply to the National Institutes of Health to the same extent and in the same manner as such provisions were applied in the third quarter of fiscal year 2017. None of the funds appropriated in this or prior Acts or otherwise made available to the Department of Health and Human Services or to any department or agency may be used to develop or implement a modified approach to such provisions, or to intentionally or substantially expand the fiscal effect of the approval of such deviations from negotiated rates beyond the proportional effect of such approvals in such quarter.

Note: This language is from the bill text, not the committee report.

Senate: In making Federal financial assistance, the provisions relating to indirect costs in part 75 of title 45, Code of Federal Regulations, including with respect to the approval of deviations from negotiated rates, shall continue to apply to the National Institutes of Health to the same extent and in the same manner as such provisions were applied in the third quarter of fiscal year 2017. None of the funds appropriated in this or prior Acts or otherwise made available to the Department of Health and Human Services or to any department or agency may be used to develop or implement a modified approach to such provisions, or to intentionally or substantially expand the fiscal effect of the approval of such deviations from negotiated rates beyond the proportional effect of such approvals in such quarter.

Note: This language is from the bill text, not the committee report.

Rejection of reorganization proposal

House: The Committee does not move [the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health] into NIH, as proposed in the budget request. The Committee believes NIOSH’s mission does not align with NIH’s focus on biomedical research and is better achieved within CDC.

The Committee does not move [the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program] into NIH, as proposed in the budget request. The Committee believes EEOICPA’s mission does not align with NIH’s focus on biomedical research and is better achieved within CDC.

The Committee does not move [the he National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research] to NIH, as proposed in the fiscal year 2019 budget request. The Committee believes NIDILRR’s unique mission to improve the abilities of individuals with disabilities is best achieved within ACL.

Senate: The Committee rejects the budget’s request to create 3 new Institutes at the NIH: (1) the National Institute for Research on Safety and Quality; (2) the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health; and (3) the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research. The Committee also does not move the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program from CDC to NIH.

Reducing administrative burden

Senate: The Committee recognizes that certain administrative tasks are critical to the research process and applauds the NIH’s efforts to identify and reduce sources of administrative burden for researchers. The Committee encourages NIH to identify additional ways to enable researchers to spend more productive time working on science, rather than applying for and reporting on grants. The Committee notes that the modular budget cap has not increased with inflation, and that grant applications with necessary costs above the modular budget cap incur additional administrative responsibilities. The Committee requests an update from NIH in the fiscal year 2020 CJ regarding the effect of modular budget cap increases on reducing administrative burdens while maintaining appropriate fiscal oversight of grant costs.

Rejection of proposed researcher salary limits

House: The Committee recommendation does not include the general provision proposed in the fiscal year 2019 budget request to limit the percentage of a researcher’s salary that may be paid for using NIH grant funds, as the impact of this policy change is unclear. The Committee requests an analysis of the projected impact of such a policy change on the number and average cost of NIH grants, as well as on academic institutions, in the fiscal year 2020 Congressional Justification.

Research Project Grants

House: The Committee expects the 3.4 percent increase of funds over the fiscal year 2018 enacted level to support an increase in the number of new and competing Research Project Grants, with a focus on early-stage investigators and investigators seeking first-time renewals.

Senate: The Committee recommendation is estimated to support over 11,400 new and competing grants in fiscal year 2019.

Basic research

Senate: The Committee recognizes that many revolutionary discoveries often come from unexpected, untargeted research. The Committee continues to support these basic advances through the general increase to all Institutes and Centers and also targets investment towards clinical and translational research that moves basic discoveries from ‘‘bench-to-bedside.”

Research transparency

Senate: As shown over the past 4 years, the Committee remains committed to funding NIH research and ensuring that our Nation’s researchers, particularly those early in their career, have the support to make the scientific breakthroughs that may transform health care. It is critical that NIH can ensure funds are used to support the most meritorious research. Members of this Committee have raised concerns and provided examples of questionable research. Therefore, NIH is directed to justify, in writing made available on a publicly accessible website, that each grant or agreement promotes efforts to seek fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and/or the application of that knowledge to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability. The Committee continues to urge a focus on research that will yield further advancement in life-saving treatments and cures.

Implementation of open access plan

Senate: The Committee has received reports from the Office of Science and Technology Policy [OSTP] on the progress of all Federal agencies in developing and implementing policies to increase public access to federally funded scientific research. The Committee commends the agencies funded in this bill who have issued plans in response to OSTP’s policy directive issued in 2013. The Committee urges the continued efforts towards full implementation of the plan, and directs agencies to provide an update on progress made in the fiscal year 2020 CJ. This will ensure that the Committee remains apprised of the remaining progress needed to make federally funded research accessible to the public as expeditiously as possible.

Intellectual property protection

Senate: —The Committee encourages the NIH Director to work with the HHS Assistant Deputy Secretary for National Security to improve the security of intellectual property derived from NIH-funded research. In particular, the NIH is encouraged to: improve the security of the peer review system; augment the application process to identify funding that applicants receive from a foreign government; and assist the HHS Inspector General and appropriate law enforcement agencies to identify violations of U.S. law or policy.

Concerns about Confucius Institutes

Senate: The Committee has strong concerns with the growing influence of the People’s Republic of China’s [PRC] increasingly aggressive attempts to use ‘‘Confucius Institutes,’’ which are Chinese Government-run programs that use the teaching of Chinese language and culture as a tool to expand the political influence of the PRC. The PRC uses Confucius Institutes and other means to influence foreign academic institutions and critical analysis of China’s past history and present policies. Moreover, Confucius Institute instructors are almost always hired in China and trained by the Chinese Ministry of Education without any of the same employment and hiring protections that exist in the United States. Much more difficult to measure but no less insidious, however, is the self-censorship that often takes place in academic settings where there is a Chinese Government presence in the form of a Confucius Institute. Given the growing concerns with intellectual property protections, within 180 days, the NIH Director shall develop a publicly available list of Confucius Institutes that have received NIH funding since 2013, along with the amount each institute received.

Sexual harassment reporting

Senate: The Committee recognizes the report recently published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine regarding sexual harassment of women in academic sciences, engineering, and medicine. The Committee directs NIH to submit to the Committee within 180 days of enactment of this act its plans to remind the grantee research community of its obligation to report to NIH any changes of key personnel, such as when such staff are put on administrative leave, and its plans to identify and disseminate training or best practices that it is applying to its own employees to support a non-discriminatory research and research-related environment. The Committee commends NIH for instituting expectations in all conference awards that NIH-supported conferences must be conducted in a safe and respectful environment for all attendees by providing an environment free from discrimination and harassment, as well as its efforts to develop a new NIH anti-harassment policy to foster a safe and respectful work environment for all NIH employees. The Committee encourages NIH to make aggregate data of confirmed cases of harassment and their resolution available to the public on a routine basis. Finally, the Committee looks forward to the survey NIH intends to conduct this fall to determine the incidence and prevalence of harassment within NIH and the effects of workplace harassment on career trajectories and directs NIH to make that survey instrument available to research institutions so that comparable data can be collected on the field at large.

Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA) program

Senate: The Committee believes that biomedical discoveries can occur anywhere, and continues to support programs that foster biomedical research and opportunities for students at institutions who may not receive significant NIH funding. In particular, the Committee continues its long-standing support of the IDeA program. However, the Committee notes that many institutions that may benefit from the IDeA program are ineligible because they reside in States that are not IDeA States. The Committee encourages NIH to enhance support for the AREA program and is urged to develop ways to improve ties between institutions that receive significant NIH funding and AREA-eligible institutions.

Data science strategic plan implementation

Senate: Two years ago, the Committee tasked NIH with developing a strategic plan to outline how it will manage and make the most of the data it is producing. Although medical research benefits from the rise of unprecedented new tools, technologies, and computational power, it also faces the challenge of making the most of the staggering and ever-growing amount of data that NIH and its grantees produce. NIH recently finalized its strategic plan, which thoughtfully outlines key areas of focus. Initial drafts of the plan called for the agency to develop performance measures and specific milestones for the plan’s objectives during 2018, but subsequent versions dropped this goal. The Committee assumes NIH opted to defer making specific commitments until it fills the newly established position of Chief Data Strategist [CDS], which is understandable given that the CDS will have sweeping responsibilities. These include leading efforts to develop a next-generation technology platform to accelerate scientific discovery, implementing innovative new approaches to increase the skills of NIH researchers, and representing the agency in national and global data strategy matters. While the CDS will report directly to the NIH Director, the Committee wants to ensure that the CDS has the support and authority needed to successfully implement the plan. Success will require cooperation from all 27 of the agency’s Institutes and Centers and entail relinquishing some, perhaps much, of the autonomy they now have over data management, technology and tools, and training. To help ensure that happens, the Committee directs the CDS to provide quarterly briefings on NIH’s efforts to implement the strategic plan. In addition, the Committee directs NIH to finalize an initial set of metrics and milestones, recognizing that these may evolve as implementation of the plan proceeds, within 60 days of enactment of this act. Finally, the Committee has included $30,000,000 to support the CDS’ work in fiscal year 2019.

Next Generation Researchers Initiative

Senate: The Committee urges NIH to continue to prioritize robust implementation of the Next Generation Researchers Initiative within the Office, as established in the 21st Century Cures Act, and to continue to expand the activities under the Initiative to improve and accelerate transitions into independent careers and enhance workforce diversity. The Committee directs NIH to collect, evaluate, and disseminate data, including best practices, on implementation of the Initiative’s policies as well as programs and pilots across all Institutes and Centers aimed at promoting the next generation of researchers, and to coordinate with relevant agencies, professional and academic associations, and others to inform programs related to the training, recruitment, and retention of biomedical researchers, as required under the law. The Committee applauds the National Academy of Sciences publication of the study, the Next Generation of Biomedical and Behavioral Sciences Researchers: Breaking Through, and urges NIH to advance the recommendations in the study.

Research facility modernization

Senate: The Committee believes that the Nation’s biomedical research infrastructure, including laboratories and research facilities at academic institutions, is out of date and insufficient. Therefore, the Committee has provided $50,000,000 for grants or contracts to public, nonprofit, and not-for-profit entities to expand, remodel, renovate, or alter existing research facilities or construct new research facilities as authorized under 42 U.S.C. section 283k. The Committee urges NIH to consider recommendations made by the NIH Working Group on Construction of Research Facilities, including making awards that are large enough to underwrite the cost of a significant portion of newly constructed or renovated facilities.

21st Century Cures initiatives

Cancer Moonshot

House: The recommendation provides the following funding increases … $100,000,000 for the Cancer Moonshot Initiative.

...

The Committee recommendation directs NIH to transfer $400,000,000 from the NIH Innovation Account to NCI to support the Cancer Moonshot initiative. These funds were authorized in the 21st Century Cures Act (PL 114–255).

Senate: The Committee recognizes that NIH’s Cancer Moonshot initiative aims to accelerate the discovery of new ways to cure cancers, including through an understanding and application of cancer genetic information to the prevention and treatment of cancer. The Committee urges NIH to facilitate research on the causes, prevention, and treatment of cancer in populations with diverse cultural, racial, and ethnic composition.

BRAIN Initiative

House: The recommendation provides the following funding increases … $29,000,000 for the Brain Research through Application of Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative.

The Committee recommendation includes bill language transferring $57,500,000 from the NIH Innovation Account to NINDS to support the BRAIN Initiative. These funds were authorized in the 21st Century Cures Act (PL 114–255). The Committee recognizes the importance of neuroscience research funded by NIH, which is fueling a vital scientific endeavor and is the essential foundation for understanding and treating diseases that impact over 100 million Americans each year. The Committee also commends NIH for its successful implementation of the BRAIN Initiative, and for its 5-year partnership with an array of agencies. This collaborative effort is revolutionizing the understanding of how neural components and their dynamic interactions result in complex behaviors, cognition, and disease, while accelerating the development of transformative tools to explore the brain in unprecedented ways making information previously beyond reach accessible. The Committee encourages NIH to continue to build off its 5 years of success as a leader and partner on the BRAIN Initiative bringing together various disciplines and funding meritorious research to advance our knowledge of the brain.

The Committee recommendation includes bill language transferring $57,500,000 from the NIH Innovation Account to NIMH to support the BRAIN Initiative.  

Senate: The Committee continues to strongly support the BRAIN Initiative. The bill provides the full President’s request of $429,380,000, an increase of $29,000,000 above fiscal year 2018. The BRAIN Initiative is developing a more complete understanding of brain function and has the possibility of helping millions of people who suffer from a wide variety of neurological and psychiatric disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, depression, and traumatic brain injury.

Deciphering the complexity of the human brain is a tremendous endeavor that requires large-scale, collective efforts. The focus of the initiative, to accelerate technology development to show the brain’s structure and function at the level of its cellular components and the functional circuits they form, is a grand challenge that can only be approached as a Big Science effort. Like the Human Genome project and its impact on genetics, the Initiative will be transformative for neuroscience. The Committee encourages a continuation of this unique opportunity to do Big Science in which large, multi-disciplinary teams work together to generate and scale up innovative technologies to produce large, publicly available datasets. As the BRAIN Initiative moves from its early emphasis on development of technologies to greater investment in production and analysis of data, the Committee encourages NIH to work with its Federal, academic and private partners, as well as leaders in the technology sector, to continue to jointly develop and adequately fund integrated, scalable data analysis hubs for BRAIN data as well as methods for tool dissemination. The goal of such an effort would be a network that has at its core an interconnected open platform of imaging, neurophysiological, behavioral, clinical, and molecular data along with the metadata essential for its interpretation. This collaborative effort would guide development and sharing of best practices in data acquisition, analysis, and choices in computational pipelines. Open sharing on this scale would enable data analysis and visualization across institutional boundaries to accelerate understanding of brain function and dysfunction.

The Committee also commends the NIH for its successful implementation of the BRAIN Initiative, and for its 5-year partnership with an array of agencies. This collaborative effort is revolutionizing our understanding of how neural components and their dynamic interactions result in complex behaviors, cognition, and disease, while accelerating the development of transformative tools to explore the brain in unprecedented ways making information previously beyond our reach accessible. NIH should continue to build off its 5 years of success as a leader and partner on the BRAIN Initiative, bringing together various disciplines and funding meritorious research to advance our knowledge of the brain.

Precision Medicine Initiative/All of Us research program

House: The recommendation provides the following funding increases: … $147,000,000 for the ‘‘All of Us’’ precision medicine initiative.

Within the total for [the NIH Innovation Account], the Committee includes $186,000,000 for the All of Us precision medicine initiative. The Committee expects that NIH will also include at least $251,000,000 in budget authority from other NIH ICs to support this initiative.

Senate: The Committee … increases funding for the All of Us research program, part of the Precision Medicine Initiative, by $86,000,000.

The Committee recommendation strongly supports the All of Us Research Program, part of the Precision Medicine Initiative and has provided $376,000,000 in support of this Initiative. The Committee recognizes the potential that precision medicine holds for all populations, including children, and encourages NIH to prioritize timely and meaningful enrollment for the pediatric population, including healthy children and those with rare diseases, in the All of Us Research Program. The Committee is encouraged that NIH impaneled a Child Enrollment Scientific Vision Working Group, which released a report that identifies scientific opportunities relevant to child health. The Committee requests an update within 60 days after the enactment on the timing for the Special Populations Committee to provide recommendations regarding the practical considerations of child enrollment and data collection involving children. Additionally, the Committee requests that NIH provide an update on plans to ensure that the research cohort includes a sufficient number of children to make meaningful studies possible, the target date for enrollment to commence and how enrollment strategies will include input from pediatric stakeholders across the country with experience in pediatric clinical trial enrollment.

Regenerative medicine

House: Within the total for [the NIH Innovation Account], the Committee includes $10,000,000 for Regenerative Medicine.

National Cancer Institute

Department of Energy collaboration

Senate: In 2016, DOE and NCI began a collaboration to develop advanced computational solutions applied to specific areas of cancer research, including preclinical drug response, molecular dynamics, and population level surveillance. The Committee encourages NCI to continue this collaboration with DOE and its high-performance computing facilities to bring state-of-the-art computational and data analytics capabilities to cancer research, and to continue discussions with potential future collaborators in the ATOM consortium.

Heavy ion therapy and research

House: The Committee supports NIH’s continued exploration of advanced therapeutic cancer research, specifically heavy ion irradiation technology. This technology will introduce a novel treatment option to cancer patients that is currently not available in the US. The Committee supports NIH’s work with the heavy ion planning grant recipients to further advance access to novel heavy ion treatment within the US. The Committee encourages NIH to explore further the establishment of a state-of-the-art heavy ion research facility in the US. Furthermore, the Committee encourages NIH to work with the Departments of Defense and Energy, and other applicable Federal agencies to equip the first US heavy ion research center. The Committee urges NIH to capitalize on the expertise and potential of the heavy ion facility planning grant recipients in order to foster a multidisciplinary approach and advance heavy ion research that would produce novel, cutting edge treatments for cancer patients.

National Institute of General Medical Sciences

Institutional Development Award [IDeA]

House: The recommendation provides the following funding increases: … $15,000,000 for Institutional Development Awards.

The Committee provides $365,575,000 for the Institutional Development Awards (IDeA) program. IDeA supports high-quality research and investigators throughout the country in States in which the success rate for NIH grants has been historically low.

Senate: The Committee provides $361,763,000 for the IDeA program, an increase of $11,188,000. The Committee believes the IDeA program has made significant contributions to biomedical research and has led to the creation of a skilled workforce and made the IDeA program an essential component of NIH’s research portfolio. The Committee recognizes the IDeA program’s significant contributions to biomedical research and to the development of our Nation’s biomedical research infrastructure and workforce. The Committee supports efforts to update IDeA eligibility to be based on the median NIH funding level for all States. The Committee continues to believe that Primarily Undergraduate Institutes in States that do not reside in an eligible State, but that have been eligible for the National Science Foundation’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research program for the past 2 consecutive years, would benefit from being able to apply to an entity that currently holds an IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence award for inclusion in its IDeA network.

National Eye Institute

Audacious Goals Initiative

Senate: The Committee commends NEI’s leadership through its AGI, which aims to restore vision through regeneration of the retina by replacing cells that have been damaged by disease and injury and restoring their visual connections to the brain. The Committee is pleased that, to-date, NEI has funded novel imaging technologies to help clinicians observe the function of individual neurons in human patients and follow them over time as they test new therapies, as well as identifying new factors that control regeneration and comparing the regenerative process among model organisms. The Committee is pleased that NEI has launched a third funding mechanism to stimulate development of models for evaluating survival and integration of regenerated photoreceptors and retinal ganglion cells in model systems that are closer to human visual anatomy and function than current models.

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