WASHINGTON -- (March 27, 2007) Hannah V. Carey, Ph.D., president-elect of The American Physiological Society (APS; www.the-aps.org) and a professor at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine, today urged Congress to increase funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the nations largest funding source for biomedical research. A 6.7 percent increase in funding for the next fiscal year will help solve pressing health problems such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer, Carey told the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education.
Carey expressed appreciation on behalf of the scientific community for doubling the NIH budget between 1998 and 2003. Since then, however, funding for the agency has not kept up with inflation. In fact, the NIH funds fewer than one out of five biomedical research grant applications, meaning that top-tier research is not being funded, Carey said. As a result, some of the best medical and scientific ideas are being left unexplored, and our most talented and creative scientists and our scientific leaders of the future are receiving a message of indifference.
Carey urged Congress to support a 6.7 percent increase for the NIH in each of the next three fiscal years. These increases would get the NIH back on track by restoring losses due to inflation in recent years. She also stressed the importance of NIH-funded training programs for the next generation of scientists and said NIH funds are essential to improving science education at all levels. The NIH also funds programs that provide important opportunities for minority students to become more deeply involved in scientific research.