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Senate Committee Discusses NIH Research & Funding

October 2015

This week, the Senate Labor-Health and Human Services Appropriations subcommittee, chaired by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), held a hearing on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) entitled, The NIH: Investing in a Healthier Future. NIH Director Francis Collins, M.D. testified along with the directors of the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Disorders, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institute of General Medical Sciences, and National Institute on Drug Abuse.

The hearing focused on several specific areas of research including the Precision Medicine Initiative, the Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative, cancer research, and additionally on NIH funding overall, including its impact on young investigators. The potential for development of a universal flu vaccine was also discussed as one of the areas that currently holds significant public health impact. But the dominant theme was of the need to find a way to increase the NIH budget. When questioned about the possibility of enactment of a spending measure for 2016 that would freeze NIH funding at the current level, Dr. Collins stated that the effect would be "simply devastating" to NIH research, predicting "a dark year for the institute."

Last Reviewed: October 2017