National Institutes of Health (NIH)

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) has issued a report on the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the largest of eight agencies comprising the Public Health Service (PHS) under the Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS). According to the report, Congress doubled the NIH budget over five years, from FY1998 to FY2003, but thereafter there has been low or no growth, and FY2007 funding is level with FY2006.

CRS notes Congress's high interest in NIH and attributes it to such reasons as:
  • The NIH budget is the largest of federal civilian R&D spending.
  • NIH has garnered increasing attention with scientific advances; the earlier doubling of its budget has drawn greater scrutiny.
  • NIH's last major reauthorization was in 1993, although its statutory basis, the Public Health Service Act (pdf, 1476pp/5.03MB), has been amended since then.
Other areas of concern for Congress and the research community include: restrictions on types of research funded, conflict-of-interest regulations for NIH scientists, and developing policies for free public access to journal articles from NIH research. See Washington Post stories: Oct. 30, 2006; April 2, 2005; March 21, 2005; March 1, 2005; and May 13, 2004.

H.R. 6164 (pdf, 60pp/136kB), the NIH Reform Act of 2006, was passed by the House on Sept. 26, 2006.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH): Organization, Funding, and Congressional Issues, CRS Report RL33695, October 19, 2006 (pdf, 44pp/200kB, from Open CRS)


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