February 4, 2010 - ASM Applauds Increases for Research Budgets

The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) appreciates the 3.2 percent increase in the President’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2011 for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), especially in the context of fiscal constraints and the proposed freeze of domestic discretionary spending.  The ASM also welcomes the President’s proposed increase of 8 percent for the National Science Foundation (NSF), 4.6 percent for the Department of Energy Office of Science and the proposed budget of $429 million for competitive, peer reviewed research grants through the US Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative.

“The ASM applauds the proposed budget increases for the federal agencies that support scientific research.  The President's proposal represents an important step in assuring that scientific progress in this country continues so that we are better able to address the global challenges we face today," said ASM President Roberto Kolter.

The NIH is the single largest source of funding for biomedical research, with an annual budget of over $31 billion.  Past advances in medical science have repeatedly shown that long term, predictable research funding is the optimal approach to finding the treatments, cures and preventions for disease that are crucial to improving public health. The 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) provided $10.4 billion in the NIH budget over two years, and is already funding nearly 13,000 new grants.   NIH estimates that its ARRA funds also will create or retain 50,000 research related jobs.  The Recovery Act investment was made at a critical time for biomedical research, following five years of flat funding in which NIH lost over 15 percent of its purchasing power.  Exploration of innovative research leads made possible by the stimulus funding and by past investment in biomedical research should be sustained.  

The ASM looks forward to working with the President and Congress to maintain the momentum of research progress generated by ARRA and provide sustained funding for real growth in the NIH budget in FY 2011 to ensure that scientists can pursue their research and training to benefit the nation’s economy and lessen the human burdens of disease and disability.

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