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NIH Funding Cuts Could Limit Research Grants and Jobs

A recent article in The Fiscal Times offered some basic funding and job numbers associated with sequestration and federally funded research. Sequestration is a series of automatic across-the-board funding cuts to government agencies, totaling $1.2 trillion over 10 years. The cuts, which would be enacted if the White House and Congress do not reach an agreement on the federal budget, would be split 50-50 between defense and domestic discretionary spending. Potential cuts to vital research funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are projected at $1.6 billion.


NIH currently supports approximately 402,000 jobs and $57.8 billion in economic growth or output. According to a new analysis by United for Medical Research (UMR), a coalition of research industry advocates and grant recipients, a 5.1% sequester would reduce the total number of NIH-related jobs by more than 20,500 and reduce economic activity by $3 billion. Industry, science and consumer health advocates warn that the fallout would hinder crucial areas of research such as cancer, heart, blood and AIDS.  


According to the UMR study, California could lose the most jobs (3,028), followed by Massachusetts (1,736), New York (1,645) and Pennsylvania (1,209).  Sue Nelson, vice president for federal advocacy at the American Heart Association and a former Senate Budget Committee official, cited an example of the far-reaching effects of such NIH cuts.  “A lot of companies manufacture equipment they sell to researchers,” Nelson told The Fiscal Times. “A research lab is like a small business. We employ everyone from the highest level researchers to persons who clean the test tubes. And then we all go out for lunch and buy from the corner lunch stand. So when a lab gets cut, it’s like closing down a small business, and that’s what’s happening all across the country.”


 “Thousands of grants will be eliminated and cutting-edge research on blood and other diseases will be stifled. The lack of funding for new projects and the uncertainty of continued funding for current projects will have a long-term negative impact on biomedical research, slowing the development of cures and treatments for patients,” said the American Society of Hematology (ASH) in a statement to its advocacy partners. 


Source: The Fiscal Times, February 6, 2013

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