Effects of Budget Cuts Spelled Out By Agencies

Despite escaping seemingly unharmed from the historical cuts enacted in the FY11 budget, science agencies will nonetheless end up being forced to cut back.  The National Institutes of Health, which saw approximately $300 million knocked of its FY10 budget level of $30.8 billion, released a notice yesterday indicating that non-competing continuing grants at all institutes except the National Cancer Institute would be chopped by 1%, while grants from NCI would be forced to undergo a 3% reduction.  With the remaining funds available for competing (new and renewal) grants, NIH estimates that 9050 grants will be able to be supported, down from the 9455 competing grants funded in FY10 and continuing a trend of decreased grant support that has accelerated since 2003. Surprisingly, stipend levels for the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards will receive a 2% bump for the rest of FY11.

The National Science Foundation, which suffered a $52 million loss from its FY10 budget level of nearly $6.9 billion, has also analyzed the effects of their reduced FY11 budget on researchers.  According to their analysis, the $42 million cut to the Research and Related Activities program will result in 134 fewer awards being granted than in FY10, leaving approximately 1500 personnel unsupported.   Education and Human Resources, which saw a decrease of $10 million, will now fund 16 fewer grants and 300 fewer researchers.

Combined with the loss of stimulus funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, these cuts will clearly accelerate the funding crisis for scientific researchers.  ASBMB has met with agency leadership to discuss strategies that will best stretch research dollars, but only a restoration of agency budgets to levels that keep up with inflation will be sufficient to fully restore the country’s research capacity.

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