Friday, 16 June 2017 09:24

ASM Letter to Congress on FY 2018 NIH Appropriations

The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) deeply appreciates the continued bipartisan support from Congress for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and for sustaining progress in biomedical research. The budget increase for the NIH in the final FY 2017 Omnibus bill recognized contributions of federally funded biomedical research to the Nation’s health, technology based economies, and competitiveness in the global marketplace. The ASM asks that you continue to support the NIH in the FY 2018 budget process, by rejecting the Administration’s proposed cuts to the NIH budget.

The President’s FY 2018 budget request would significantly deplete crucial research and development and employment opportunities across the United States. The negative impacts of the Administration’s proposed 21 percent reduction in NIH funding would hit not only public health activities that benefit all Americans, but also local and national economies, workforce training, and the discovery of scientific innovations capable of improving lives and building markets. If enacted, nearly 90,000 jobs and over $15 billion in economic activity are projected to be lost.

The ASM supports an increase of $2 billion over the approved FY 2017 level for the NIH in FY 2018 to sustain the Nation’s scientific research capabilities. There is strong historical evidence that robust R&D investments by federal agencies like NIH consistently generate massive social and economic benefits. R&D funding has created millions of jobs and directly vitalized communities. NIH’s role as the world’s largest supporter of biomedical research primarily rests on its distribution of more than 80 percent of its annual budget to more than 300,000 extramural researchers at more than 2,500 universities, medical schools, and other research institutions. Entire market sectors have been energized by NIH discoveries, including biomanufacturing, genomics, and medical imaging.

It is obvious that the Administration’s proposed 21 percent budget cut for NIH would have a deleterious ripple effect across many R&D institutions and businesses. Also of great concern to the ASM is the Administration’s proposal to radically disrupt the distribution of NIH’s indirect costs given to extramural grantees to sustain research infrastructures. We do not disagree that the distribution of indirect costs requires continued oversight and periodic reevaluation, but imposing a reported 10 percent cap would create onerous financial burdens on R&D institutions and a tangible chilling effect on new research projects.

The ASM appreciates the opportunity to again express its strong advocacy for NIH research and to thank the Congress for its consistent farsighted and steadfast support of NIH budgets that best serve the American public.


Susan Sharp, Ph.D., President, American Society for Microbiology
Stefano Bertuzzi, Ph.D., M.P.H., CEO, American Society for Microbiology
Ronald M. Atlas, Ph.D., Chair, ASM Public and Scientific Affairs Board