Created by on 9/3/2010 12:00:00 AM

FASEB President William Talman recently discussed fiscal year 2012 funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) with analysts from the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The August 18th meeting was coordinated on behalf of the Steering Committee of the Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research.

The absence of 2011 appropriations bills complicates OMB efforts to construct the 2012 budget. Currently, it seems likely that the NIH discussion will start with the President’s 2011 recommendation of $32 billion (the same number as in the House and Senate mark-up of the 2011 funding bills).

Talman discussed the needs of the biomedical research community, and in particular noted the “cliff scenario” that will occur with the end of the funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Estimating the size, onset and impact of “the cliff” was a clear concern for all parties who participated in the meeting.

In a discussion of budget priorities, FASEB raised concerns about funding for basic research and R01 grants. OMB staff stated that both are important issues. Diminished emphasis in this area was attributed to decisions made by the individual NIH institute and center directors and not priorities in the President’s budget.

OMB staffers expressed strong interest in the community’s estimates and recommendations for fiscal year 2012. They found FASEB’s analyses to be helpful in the past, and noted that they would need this information before October. At the end of the meeting, Talman presented the OMB staff with a copy FASEB’s most recent analysis of trends in NIH funding and learned that our perspectives had been taken into consideration in creating the FY 2011 budget recommendation.