NAEVR Submits Written Testimony to the Senate Regarding FY2022 NIH/NEI Funding, Research Recovery Funding
On June 17, NAEVR submitted written Outside Witness Testimony to the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee, following up on its May 19 Public Witness testimony provided by Michael Crair, PhD (Yale University) to the House LHHS Appropriations Subcommittee on Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Eye Institute (NEI) funding.
Since NAEVR’s Senate testimony was submitted after President Biden’s FY2022 budget proposal issued on May 28 and the Subcommittee’s hearing with NIH Director Francis Collins, MD, PhD on May 26, NAEVR updated its prior House testimony to:
- Compare its NIH funding request of $46.1 billion for NIH, a $3.177 billion or 7.4 percent increase over the FY2021 level, to the President’s proposed $45.45 billion NIH base level funding [absent funding for the proposed Advanced Research Projects Agency-Health (ARPA-H)], a $2.51 billion or 5.9 percent increase. NAEVR reiterated that the 7.4 percent NIH increase was necessary for NIH to keep up with biomedical inflation and allow for 5 percent growth, especially to support promising research across all Institutes and Centers (I/Cs).
- In that regard, NAEVR also compared its NEI funding request of $900 million, a $64.3 million or 7.7 percent increase over the FY2021 level, to the President’s proposed $858.4 million NEI funding level, a $22.83 million or 2.7 percent increase, which is just slightly greater than thebiomedical inflation rate of 2.4 percent. NAEVR emphasized that NEI needs at least 5 percent growth above biomedical inflation to restore its purchasing power, which in FY2021 is less than that in FY2012.
- NAEVR reiterated its request for one-time emergency funding in FY2022 appropriations for federal agency “research recovery” investment to enable NIH to mitigate COVID-19 pandemic-related research disruptions. NAEVR acknowledged that, at the Subcommittee’s May 26 hearing, Dr. Collins estimated that the pandemic shutdown resulted in a $16 billion loss to its biomedical research enterprise, which is $6 billion more than the $10 billion loss that he estimated at the Subcommittee’s July 2, 2020, hearing. NAEVR called for adoption of the bipartisan Research Investment to Spark the Economy (RISE) Act (H.R. 869/S. 289), which includes $10 billion for NIH research recovery.
- Although NAEVR recognized that pandemic-related lab closures have impacted all researchers,early-stage investigators have felt it most acutely, as evidenced by AEVR’s September 2020 video discussion with 22 Emerging Vision Scientists about their research, training, collaborations, and career progression. A written article summarizing that discussion is scheduled for publication on July 1, 2021, in JAMA Ophthalmology.