National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD, testified recently before the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies.  Collins presented the NIH fiscal year 2012 budget request of $32 billion, an increase of $745 million or 2.4 percent from the FY 2010 actual funding level.


Collins began by thanking the Senate for sparing NIH from deeper cuts in the final FY 2011 Continuing Resolution (CR).  “NIH received a one percent, or $321.7 million, cut from the FY 2010 level, while other programs and functions were cut more deeply,” he said.


Collins then emphasized that NIH research spending has an impact on job creation and economic growth, has a long-term economic impact as the foundation for the medical innovation sector, and leads to better health outcomes that ease human suffering and produce an economic return.  He described how NIH invests the greatest percentage of its resources in basic research, while also advancing translational science that moves “fundamental knowledge into cures and therapies for human disease.”


In March the AASM submitted comments to the U.S. House and Senate, urging Congress to maintain appropriate NIH funding levels.