FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 18, 2014
|CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
NAEVR RELEASES FY2015 FUNDING REQUESTS TO CONGRESS:
$32 BILLION FOR NIH AND $730 MILLION FOR NEI,
$10 MILLION FOR PEER REVIEWED VISION TRAUMA RESEARCH
(Washington, D.C.) Today, the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) released its legislative positions regarding Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Eye Institute (NEI) in the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) appropriations bill, as well as the Peer Reviewed Vision Trauma Research Program (VTRP) in the Defense appropriations bill.
NIH Funding at $32 Billion, NEI Funding at $730 Million:
NAEVR urges Congress to fund the NIH at $32 billion, which would fully restore the $1.7 billion FY2013 sequester cut partially restored in FY2014 and enable an inflationary increase, as NIH has lost 22 percent of its purchasing power since FY2003 (in constant dollars). NAEVR requests NEI funding at $730 million to restore the $36 million sequester cut and enable an inflationary increase, as NEI has lost 25 percent of its purchasing power since FY2003 (in constant dollars).
NAEVR is releasing two position papers-one focused on top-line NIH/NEI funding, as well as one focused on NEI entitled “Federal Funding of Vision Research is Vital.” The latter describes the impact of the $139 billion annual cost of vision disorders-which came from a study released in June 2013 by Prevent Blindness America and the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. NAEVR emphasizes that FY2014 NEI funding of $682 million is still less than 0.5 percent of the $139 billion annual cost, and that the U.S. is spending just $2.10 per-person, per-year for vision research.
In summary, NAEVR concludes that the United States must capitalize on previous NIH investment to drive research progress, train the next generation of scientists, create new jobs, promote economic growth, and maintain leadership in the global innovation economy.
VTRP Funding at $10 Million:
NAEVR urges Congress to fund the VTRP at $10 million since it is a dedicated funding source for extramural vision research into immediate battlefield needs which is not conducted by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), elsewhere within the Department of Defense (DOD) including the joint DOD/VA Vision Center of Excellence, or the NEI. NAEVR stresses that the VTRP is military-relevant, addresses DOD-identified research gaps, and has the potential for rapid translation into battlefield diagnostic and therapeutic applications.
The Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) and Military Service Organizations (MSOs) support VTRP funding at $10 million per the FY2015 Independent Budget recommendations. A May 2012 study funded by NAEVR that used only published data from 2000-2010 yielded a total cost to the economy from military eye injury and blindness over this timeframe of $25.1 billion.
Since the VTRP was created by Congress in FY2009, the DOD has funded $50 million in vision research awards to domestic and international researchers to address DOD-identified research gaps into penetrating eye injuries and Traumatic Brain Injury-related visual disorders.
The National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) is a 501(c)4 non-profit advocacy coalition comprised of 55 professional, consumer, and industry organizations involved in eye and vision research. Visit the Web site at www.eyeresearch.org.