Policy ForumScience Policy

The NIH Budget in the "Postdoubling" Era

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Science  24 May 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5572, pp. 1401-1402
DOI: 10.1126/science.1072486

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The 5-year doubling of the NIH budget represents a bold policy decision to reset the level of public investment in biomedical research. The authors propose 6 principles to guide NIH spending in coming years that would protect that investment by balancing support for new research with respect for prior commitments and national research capacity. The goal is a sustainable biomedical research enterprise that avoids destabilizing, counterproductive gyrations in funding. Modeling of NIH budget scenarios reflecting these principles indicates that growth rates below the historic average of the past 4 decades would quickly negate the advantages achieved by the doubling initiative.