Trump budget gives last-minute reprieve to science funding

Trump budget gives last-minute reprieve to science funding

The National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) US$34.8-billion budget would be roughly equal to the 2017 level, but about $2 billion below the 2018 level approved by Congress on 8 February. The 2019 proposal includes $9.2 billion added after Congress lifted mandatory spending caps for 2018 and 2019 last week.But the 2019 budget might not be as steady as it seems, because the White House is calling for the creation of three new institutes within the NIH. They include a National Institute for Research on Safety and Quality, which would replace the $324-million Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The Trump plan would also transfer the National Institute of Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research from the HHS’s Administration for Community Living, and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to the NIH from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The White House is also seeking to cap, at 90%, the percentage of salary that a scientist can draw from an NIH grant, and reduce the total salary amount that researchers can draw from federal grants. Last year, the Trump administration sought to limit the amount of overhead (known as indirect costs) that the NIH pays to grant recipients, but Congress rejected the idea.The president’s plan would give the NIH an additional $750 million for research on the opioid crisis, $400 million of which must be spent on public-private partnerships to develop new treatments for pain and overdose.

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