After the doubling of the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) budget between 1998 and 2003, federal funding for medical research and more widely federal R&D has been falling or stagnate over the past several years. Most recently, the federal budget sequester slashed NIH funding by 5.5 percent leading to a $1.6 billion funding reduction in 2013, the largest cut in the agency’s history. (The president's proposed 2014 budget calls for a repeal of sequestration and a slight increase in the NIH budget of 1.6 percent or $471 million over the 2012 budget.) The decline in federal research funding is particularly concerning in light of the growing importance of knowledge-based industries in a global economy. If current trends in biomedical research investment continue the US government's investment in life sciences research over the ensuring half decade is likely to be barely half that of China's in current dollars and one-quarter of China's level as a share of its GDP. (China already has more gene sequencing capacity than the US.) Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, the UK and France also fund more as share of their economies.
This 27-minute podcast begins with a brief description of AAAS's work. Mr. Hourihan discusses next federal R&D funding generally and NIH funding specifically compared to other developed countries, the recent history of federal NIH funding, proposed White House and Congressional NIH FY'14 funding (or moreover how Democratic and Republican proposals substantially differ), the effect of budget sequestration on the FY'13 NIH budget and sequestration's effect on NIH funding should sequestration persist through 2021, the consequences funding restraints have had on life sciences research and the economy and the prospects for future NIH funding over the next five to 10 years. For more on Mr. Hourihan's NIH analysis (and federal R&D funding more generally) see: http://www.aaas.org/spp/rd/.
Mr. Matt Hourihan has been Director of the R&D Budget and Policy Program at the American Assocation for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) since 2011. Prior to joining AAAS, he served as a Clean Energy Policy Analyst at the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF). Previous to that, Mr. Hourihan served as Jan Schori Fellow at the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, a coalition of energy firms and utilities working to engage policymakers for market-based solutions to sustainable energy development and climate change and prior still he worked as a journalist at the Ocean Conservancy. Mr. Hourihan earned a masters degree in public policy with an emphasis on science and technology policy at George Mason University and a undergraduate degree in journalism from Ithaca College.