NAEVR Submits NIH Listens Comments to Dr. Collins Citing Concerns About Future NIH/NEI Funding and Clustering of Institutes/Maintaining the NEI Budget Line

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 15, 2010
CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
Executive Director
240-221-2905
[email protected]

NAEVR SUBMITS NIH LISTENS COMMENTS TO DR. COLLINS CITING CONCERNS ABOUT FUTURE NIH/NEI FUNDING AND CLUSTERING OF INSTITUTES/MAINTAINING THE NEI BUDGET LINE

(Washington, D.C.) Today, the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) submitted its NIH Listens comments to National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D. In an August 2009 session with the medical research community and at a December 2009 Capitol Hill welcome reception held in his honor, Dr. Collins requested that medical research advocacy organizations identify their top NIH concerns in a brief submission. After acknowledging the NEI’s 40th anniversary and Congressional designation in 2009, through H. Res. 366 and S. Res. 209, of 2010-2020 as the Decade of Vision, NAEVR presented its top two NIH concerns:

Robust NIH/NEI Funding

NAEVR cited its support for Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 NIH funding at $35 billion and reiterated its concern that the President’s budget proposal provides for only an inflationary increase for NIH. NAEVR highlighted its specific concern that the President’s budget proposes only a 2.4 percent increase for the National Eye Institute NEI), which is one of the lowest percent increases for an Institute. NAEVR stressed that now is not the time for a less-than-inflationary increase for NEI, as that would continue to erode its purchasing power, which fell by 18 percent over the FY2003-2008 timeframe. NAEVR reiterated that Congress designated 2010-2020 as the Decade of Vision to emphasize the daunting vision public health challenges the nation faces that must be addressed through adequate federal funding of vision research by the NEI.

Potential NIH Budget Clusters

NAEVR stressed its ongoing opposition to “clustering” Institute/Center budgets within the NIH and its support for maintaining a separate NEI budget line. NAEVR noted that it is tracking the activities of the NIH Scientific Management Review Board (SMRB), which is charged with making recommendations regarding NIH structure, and convenes meetings with “Friends” of other smaller Institutes to share strategies.

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.