At Last, Some Good News for the National Institutes of Health

I have posted many times here about the devastating impact of the funding reductions at the NIH, particularly how the cuts are destroying the careers of young scientists. The positive impact of the 1998 bipartisan initiative in Congress to double the NIH budget has been completely wiped out and then some.


After all my whinging, I am happy to report that Congress has finally seen the light and given the NIH its first real-term fiscal increase in years. It’s a good start, though much more is needed to sustain the benefit.

I have spent a fair amount of time on Capitol Hill working this issue, and have been struck by the level of bipartisan agreement about the value of NIH spending – it helps both the economy and public health and Members of Congress in both parties see that. I am glad they were able this year to put aside their profound disagreements in other areas and do something good for the country. Here’s hoping they keep it up.

[Cross-posted at The Reality-Based Community]

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Keith Humphreys

Keith Humphreys is a professor of psychiatry at Stanford University. He served as a senior policy advisor at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy from 2009 to 2010.