Inside (the Beltway) ScoopBy: Ellen Kuo
Wednesday, June 2, 2021
President Biden Releases Fiscal Year 2022 Budget
President Biden released his Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 budget on May 28, which will put legislative activity into high gear as heads of federal agencies are rapidly called to testify before appropriators. The budget focuses on renewing America’s commitment to research and development (R&D) with $171.26 billion in total for R&D across the government or a 9 percent increase. It proposes historic increases in funding for foundational R&D across a range of scientific agencies—including the National Science Foundation (NSF), U.S. Department of Energy, and others—to help spur innovation across the economy and renew America’s global leadership. These increases would total an investment of $47.4 billion or an increase of 10 percent.
Francis Collins, MD, PhD, Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), testified before the roll out and gave a preview for his agency. He said it would provide $2.5 billion to NIH to expand funding for its core activities such as research grants, clinical trials, and infrastructure support. He also talked about the new entity the President wants to set up at NIH known as Advanced Research Projects Agency-Health or ARPA-H. He said he could see ARPA-H sitting in the Office of the Director with its own director and up to 100 program managers. It would not use the peer review process and allow these program managers to build the kind of collaborative ventures that include such organizations and small businesses that might otherwise not be likely to write an NIH grant. The managers would watch the progress on projects carefully so that if they are not doing well they get stopped immediately. He testified that every one of the Institutes that has come forward has great ideas about how they would like to use ARPA-H and that it is an augmentation of their capabilities, not a subtraction. It would also work on many diseases areas, not just the ones initially mentioned of cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s, and could cut in half the amount of time to reach breakthrough results.
The following are the amounts each agency or program was provided in the President’s budget for which FASEB advocates:
- NIH: $51.95 billion, which is a 21 percent increase over FY 2021 enacted of $42.9 billion. This top line number includes $6.5 billion for ARPA-H to speed transformational innovation in health research. Therefore, the NIH base amount as proposed is at $45.5 billion or a 9 percent increase over FY 2021. NIH funding broken down by Institutes and Centers is available here.
- National Science Foundation (NSF): $10.2 billion, which is a 20 percent increase from FY 2021 enacted of $8.5 billion.
- U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science: $7.44 billion from the $7.02 billion enacted for FY 2021 or a 5 percent increase to support foundational research while prioritizing investments in climate science.
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Medical and Prosthetic Research Program: $882 million for FY 2022 from $815 million enacted in FY 2021 or an 8 percent increase with specific instructions to use some of the money for female veterans and toxic exposure research.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture, which has the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA): $265 million across all Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) programs, including interagency investments, for a total of $700 million for America’s flagship competitive grants program for food and agricultural sciences. This is a 61 percent over FY 2021 enacted level of $435 million and meets FASEB’s FY 2022 funding recommendations. NIFA participates in a nationwide system of agricultural research, education, and extension program planning and coordination between state institutions and the agency, and the agency proposes to include broad emphasis throughout AFRI on climate-smart agriculture and application of clean energy.