As I mentioned in a prior post, a presentation from the CPDD lobbyist, Ed Long (of Capitol Associates) put me on to a most interesting analysis of the NIH budget. One that I hadn't seen before and one that makes a frightening point.
The doubling of the NIH budget has been completely reversed. Read on to find out how.
An article by Heinig et alia was published in 2007 in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Heinig SJ, Krakower JY, Dickler HB, Korn D. Sustaining the engine of U.S. biomedical discovery. N Engl J Med. 2007 Sep 6;357(10):1042-7. [Publisher Link]
One of the key points of the article is captured in a representation of the NIH budget in constant dollars with an adjustment for inflation based on a economic segment-relevant index*. Now, we're used to seeing the most-recent few years of budgets represented in some sort of inflation-adjusted manner. We're used to seeing the way that a flat budget is really a declining buying-power budget.
What is new is the representation of the long term trends across the past 40 years. The effect of the NIH doubling period has been almost entirely erased, bringing the NIH budget back in line with the pre-doubling trends for about 3.34% annual growth.
Figure 1. NIH Appropriations (Adjusted for Inflation in Biomedical Research) from 1965 through 2007, the President's Request for 2008, and Projected Historical Trends through 2010.
All values have been adjusted according to the Biomedical Research and Development Price Index on the basis of a standard set of relevant goods and services (with 1998 as the base year).* The trend line indicates average real annual growth between fiscal years 1971 and 1998 (3.34%), with projected growth (dashed line) at the same rate. The red square indicates the president's proposed NIH budget for fiscal year 2008, also adjusted for inflation in biomedical research.
* NIH Office of Budget. Biomedical research and development price index (BRDPI). Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health, February 5, 2007. (Accessed August 16, 2007, at http://officeofbudget.od.nih.gov/UI/GDP_FromGenBudget.htm.)