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NIH grants cut by 5 percent due to sequestration

July / August 2013 | Volume 12, Issue 4

Sequestration, which has forced across-the-board U.S. federal spending cuts, is a "profoundly devastating blow" for biomedical research, according to NIH Director Dr. Francis S. Collins. Every area of research supported by NIH's 27 Institutes and Centers, including Fogarty, is affected. NIH will fund about 700 fewer grants in fiscal 2013 than in 2012 and will cut existing noncompeting awards by about 5 percent.

That will delay medical breakthroughs, including development of cancer drugs that can target particular tumors, a universal vaccine for every type of influenza and treatments for chronic diseases such as dementia. The cuts will also undermine the U.S. scientific workforce by closing doors on many job opportunities, according to an NIH fact sheet.

Under sequestration, NIH's overall budget fell by 5 percent or $1.55 billion. Unless Congress acts, additional reductions will automatically take effect each year through 2021. "We are at the moment where science is moving the fastest it ever has," Collins said. "Yet the support for science, because of the sequester, is under greater threat than it has ever been."

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