In Your Own Backyard:
How NIH Funding Helps Your State's Economy
A Report from Families USA, June 2008
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is America’s leading medical research agency and the foremost biomedical research institute in the world. The research funded by NIH has led to many dramatic improvements in our nation’s health, from decreases in deaths due to cancer, heart disease, and stroke to dramatic increases in life expectancy for patients with diabetes and HIV/AIDS.
Today, the continued preeminence of NIH—and even our position as the leader in biomedical research—is threatened because NIH is not adequately funded. For the past five years, federal funding for NIH has not kept pace with inflation: Since 2003, its purchasing power has actually declined by 13 percent.
Funding declines of that magnitude limit opportunities to make scientific advances that would improve our health here at home and advance the health of people worldwide. Promising research projects must be cut short, and a generation of scientists may opt to pursue other careers or may move to countries that are prioritizing the development of life sciences research.
But NIH funding cuts do more than stifle scientific progress—these cuts have a negative economic impact on communities across the country. Most Americans don’t know that NIH is a positive economic force in numerous local communities: Most of its $29 billion budget—between 80 and 90 percent—funds research that takes place at universities, medical research centers, hospitals, and research institutes in every state in the U.S.
The federal dollars that NIH sends out into communities, known as “extramural funding,” provide real, direct economic benefits at the local level, including increased employment; growth opportunities for universities, medical centers, and local companies; and additional economic stimulus for the community. And when NIH funding is cut, communities across the country suffer too.
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