NAEVR Submits FY2019 Testimony to Senate Appropriators Requesting at Least $39.3 B in NIH, $800 M in NEI Funding

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 24, 2018
CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
Executive Director
240-221-2905
[email protected]


NAEVR SUBMITS FY2019 TESTIMONY TO SENATE APPROPRIATORS REQUESTING AT LEAST $39.3 B IN NIH, $800 M IN NEI FUNDING

(Washington, D.C.) Today, the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) submitted written testimony to the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee regarding Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Eye Institute (NEI) funding.

As in its April 23 testimony submitted to House LHHS Appropriations Subcommittee, NAEVR requested FY2019 NIH funding of at least $39.3 billion, reflecting a “meaningful base budget growth [$2 billion] above inflation to expand NIH’s capacity to support promising science in all disciplines, and to ensure that the Innovation Account [created by the 21st Century Cures Act for special initiatives] supplements NIH’s base budget, as intended by Congress.”

Noting that 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the creation of the NEI by Congress as the lead Institute for our nation’s sight-saving and vision restoring research, NAEVR requested NEI funding of at least $800 million. Building upon the House testimony that addressed the impact of cuts, flat funding, and lack of inflationary increases on NEI prior to funding increases enacted by Congress in FY2016 through FY2018, NAEVR added new data about the effect on number of Research Project Grants (RPGs)—which at the NEI are primarily Investigator-initiated awards. In FY2017, NEI had 130 fewer RPGs (1,157) than the 1,287 RPGs at the high-water mark in FY2004. Since FY2004, the difference between what NEI was able to fund and the cumulative number of projects it would have funded if it had maintained 1,287 grants each year is 1,970 project-years (this number treats each year of a project individually, even though average length of an NIH grant is four years). “Any one of these projects could have held the promise to save sight or restore vision,” noted NAEVR.

NAEVR has posted a summary of the Senate LHHS Appropriations Subcommittee’s May 17, 2018, hearing with NIH Director Francis Collins, MD, PhD.

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.