Public Affairs

Congress Agrees to 2011 Budget

Avoiding a government shutdown by about an hour, Congress and the President agreed to a budget to fund the federal government for the rest of the 2011 Fiscal Year on April 8.

The cuts to science funding were far less than was proposed in HR 1, a bill passed by the House of Representatives in February. According to early reports on the budget deal, the following are the impacts to NIH, NSF, and the DOE.

  • NIH will receive $30.6 billion in FY 2011, a $325 million (1.0%) reduction from FY 2010. $210 million of that will be an across- the-board reduction for all Institutes, Centers, and the Office of the Director, $50 million will come from the intramural buildings and facilities account, and another 0.2%, which applies to all nondiscretionary defense spending, has not been determined.
  • NSF will receive $6.8 billion for FY 2011, a cut of $66 million or 1.0% from the FY 2010 budget. The research accounts will be hit with $42 million of that cut and the Education and Human Resources Directorate with $10 million.
  • The DOE Offi ce of Science will receive $4.884 billion, which is $866 million above HR 1 and $20 million below FY 2010. With no earmarks included in the FY11 budget, compared to $76 million worth of earmarks in FY10, the Office actually has an increase of $56 million in unconstrained funds.

Prior to the budget deal, more than 14,000 patients, scientists, health care providers, and supporters of medical research signed an e-petition asking Congress not to cut funding for life-saving research supported by the NIH. The petition, prepared by Th e Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research, of which the Biophysical Society is a member, was created to make Congress aware of public support for NIH funding. The Biophysical Society alerted members about the petition in its monthly legislative update email and on the Biophysical Society Facebook page.

New NIH Diabetes Research Plan

On March 18, 2011, NIH announced a new strategic plan to guide diabetes-related research over the next decade. Developed by a federal work group led by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the plan calls for continued emphasis on clinical research. The plan, entitled “Advances and Emerging Opportunities in Diabetes Research: A Strategic Planning Report of the Diabetes Mellitus Interagency Coordinating Committee,”focuses on the 10 areas of diabetes research with the greatest potential. These areas include:

  • The relationship between obesity and type 2 diabetes, and how both conditions may be affected by genetics and environment;
  • Autoimmune mechanisms at work in type 1 diabetes;
  • The biology of beta cells, which release insulin in the pancreas;
  • Development of artifi cial pancreas technologies to improve management of blood sugar levels;
  • Prevention of complications of diabetes that aff ect the heart, eyes, kidneys, nervous system, and other organs; and
  • Reduction of the impact of diabetes on groups disproportionately aff ected by the disease, including the elderly and racial and ethnic minorities.

For more information, see the announcement at www.nih.gov/news/health/mar2011/niddk-18.htm.

New NIH Science Policy Associate Director

Amy Patterson has been named NIH Associate Director of the Offi ce of Science Policy after serving as acting Associate Director since the fall of 2008. Patterson had previously been a postdoctoral fellow at NIH, as well as Deputy Director of the Division of Cellular and Gene Therapies and Senior Medical Officer in the Center of Biologics Evaluation and Research at the Food and Drug Administration. Patterson also serves as Director of the Office of Biotechnology Activities within the NIH Officeof Science Policy, a role that she will continue to fill.

May 2011 Table of Contents