FY2009 Increase of at Least $230 Million in NIH and Defense Vision Funding Emphasizes Research Quality, Public Health Need, and Impact of NAEVR Advocacy

November 2, 2009
CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
Executive Director
[email protected]

FY2009 Increase of at Least $230 Million in NIH and Defense Vision Funding Emphasizes Research Quality, Public Health Need, and Impact of NAEVR Advocacy

(Washington, D.C.) The National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) has estimated that, based on preliminary Fiscal Year (FY) 2009 data from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for “regular” and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)-related appropriations, as well as 2009 extramural research awards announced by the Department of Defense (DOD), funding for vision research increased by at least an unprecedented $230 million over FY2008.

The chart below shows that, in addition to the FY2009 Congressional appropriations to the National Eye Institute (NEI) of $196 million (“regular” and ARRA), vision researchers successfully competed for another $34 million in funding. At NIH, this included competing successfully within the common fund (e.g., Bridge Awards), the Office of the Director (OD, e.g., ARRA-related Challenge Grants), and within other NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs). At DOD, this meant competing in FY2008 against 21 other areas of disease research within the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP)-before extramural vision research was made a separate line item in FY2009 defense appropriations.

FY2009 Vision Research Funding Increase of $230 Million
“Regular” NEI Appropriation: 21.4 M
NIH Common Fund (e.g., Bridge Awards) 5.6 M
ARRA NEI Appropriation 175.0 M
ARRA NIH OD, Common Fund, Other ICs 16.0 M
2009 Awards/FY2008 Defense Vision 12.0 M
$230.0 M

NAEVR Board President Stephen Ryan, M.D., (Doheny Eye Institute/University of Southern California) commented that this success is attributable to three factors:

“Vision researchers submit high quality proposals that address scientific need. Often, it is collaborative research that relates to other diseases, so it stands out within the NIH common fund and at other ICs. Vision research also meets a very real public health need, especially with 78 million Baby Boomers turning age 65 and the visual implications of the epidemic of diabetes. In passing resolutions earlier this year—H. Res. 366 and S. Res. 209—Congress not only recognized NEI’s pivotal role during its 40th anniversary year, but designated 2010-2020 as the Decade of Vision to acknowledge the daunting public health challenge of vision loss. At DOD, vision research is addressing the reality of battlefield conditions, such as corneal healing, corneal and retinal protection, and visual dysfunction from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). And, NAEVR advocacy has been pivotal. NAEVR was among the first to urge then-Presidential candidate Obama and Congress to support ARRA. NAEVR was also among the first advocacy organizations to share examples of ARRA-funded research during an October 30 Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) Advocacy Day, supplementing participants’ own stories about the scientific and economic impact of their research with a summary of pertinent ARRA-NEI funded breakthrough research.

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.