My view: Crippling budget cuts to National Institutes of Health

van Vucci, Associated Press

FILE— President Donald Trump speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, March 10, 2017, during a meeting on healthcare. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The world is on the verge of a new golden age in biomedical research and disease treatment. Groundbreaking medical discoveries are revolutionizing medicine and ushering in an era of sharpened, personalized tools for treating human disease.

Historically, the U.S. has been the unquestionable leader in this charge, primarily due to an unparalleled system of public research funding administered by the National Institutes of Health. However, on March 16, the Trump administration released a budget proposal that contained unprecedented, crippling cuts to the NIH, the crown jewel of U.S. biomedical research. Under the Trump plan, the NIH budget would be cut by $5.8 billion, a budget decrease of nearly 20 percent. Within the scientific community, such a cut in an already historically difficult funding climate is hard to fathom.

Let’s put the proposed budget cuts in perspective. The last significant increase in the NIH budget occurred nearly 20 years ago in the late 1990s and received strong bipartisan support. As a result, NIH grant funding rates hovered around 30 percent — meaning nearly a third of submitted grants were funded. Innovative…

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