The President’s budget proposes a $200 million (+0.7 percent) increase for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). About half of the budget would go towards research project grants ($16.2 billion; +$119.5 million). Intramural research would receive $3.4 billion, a 1.2 percent increase.
One hundred million (+$60 million) is proposed for the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative. This multi-agency initiative, which is in its second year, seeks to accelerate the development and application of tools to construct dynamic pictures of the brain that reveal how brain cells and neural circuits interact in real time to produce human behaviors. Funding for another overarching initiative, the Big Data to Knowledge initiative would roughly double to $88 million.
Funding for Research Project Grants (RPGs) would increase by 0.7 percent. The number of new RPGs would increase by 329 over last year (+3.7 percent). At the proposed funding level, the funding rate would not change from the current rate of 17 percent. The average size of grants would decrease by 6.6 percent. According to NIH, the decline is due to the anticipated award of several very large grants this year; in FY 2015 these grants will become non-competing and tie-up a larger share of funding.
Training programs would increase slightly. Stipend rates would grow by two percent. The proposed $767 million funding level would support 108 additional full-time positions.
NIH plans to save $2 million by holding more virtual peer review meetings. The agency estimates that is has saved $13 million a year by holding more electronic meetings, using NIH conference space instead of rented space, and other cost saving measures.
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