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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Saturday, Jan. 26, 2002
Contact: HHS Press Office
(202) 690-6343

PRESIDENT FULFILLS COMMITMENT TO DOUBLING NIH FUNDING


President Bush will fulfill his commitment to a five-year plan to double the budget of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) when he submits his fiscal year 2003 budget proposal to Congress next month, HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson announced today.

The President's fiscal year 2003 budget proposal for NIH would increase its budget to $27.3 billion, an increase of $3.7 billion, the largest one-year increase ever for NIH. The proposal represents a growth of nearly 16 percent over the $23.6 billion allotted to NIH for fiscal year 2002. In fiscal year 1998, the NIH budget stood at $13.6 billion. President Bush had joined in a bipartisan commitment to doubling the 1998 level.

"The President could not be clearer about his commitment to medical research, the scientific enterprise and the value of NIH and its work," said Secretary Thompson. "The proposed NIH budget will support nearly 36,000 research project grants, an all-time record for the agency."

The allocation of the fiscal year 2003 NIH budget by institute and research area reflects both the professional judgments of the scientific leadership at NIH and challenges presented by the threat of bioterrorism.

Of the overall $3.7 billion increase over fiscal year 2002, approximately $1.5 billion would be devoted to proposed bioterrorism research, a five-fold increase over the $300 million budgeted for the previous fiscal year. After September 11, NIH leadership made a recommendation to HHS and the White House for significant expansion in bioterrorism related research. NIH's plan includes expansions in basic research, such as sequencing the genome of potential bioterrorism agents; accelerating development of next-generation anthrax vaccines; and improving diagnostic tools.

Cancer-related research would also be a priority under the President's proposal, reflecting growing opportunities in the fight against the nation's second leading killer. Cancer-related spending would increase from $4.9 billion in fiscal year 2002 to $5.5 billion in fiscal year 2003, an increase of nearly 13 percent, which is similar to the increase in cancer-related spending in fiscal year 2002. Other disease areas including diabetes, HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease will also receive substantial increases in the fiscal year 2003 budget.

"This research budget reflects the priority the administration places on a long-term solution to the bioterrorism threat, while fully recognizing the need to pursue a wealth of other important research opportunities," Secretary Thompson said.

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Last revised: January 26, 2002