Fiscal Year 2011 Funding Policy

As you may be aware, the Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act of 2011 Exit icon (Public Law 112-10) enacted on April 15 provides Fiscal Year 2011 funds for NIH and NIGMS at a level approximately 1% lower than those for Fiscal Year 2010.

NIH has released a notice outlining its fiscal policy for grant awards. This notice includes reductions in noncompeting awards to allow the funding of additional new and competing awards.

For noncompeting awards:

  • Modular grants will be awarded at a level 1% lower than the current Fiscal Year 2011 committed level.
  • Nonmodular grants will not receive any inflationary increase and will be reduced by an additional 1%.
  • Awards that have already been issued (typically at 90% of the previously committed level) will be adjusted upward to be consistent with the above policies.

For competing awards:

  • Based on the appropriation level, we expect to make approximately 866 new and competing research project grant awards at NIGMS, compared to 891 in Fiscal Year 2010.
  • It is worth noting that we received more new and competing grant applications this fiscal year—3,875 versus 3,312 in Fiscal Year 2010.

The NIGMS Fiscal Year 2011 Financial Management Plan (link no longer available) has additional information, including about funding of new investigators and National Research Service Award stipends.

Budget Updates

NIGMS Congressional Justification FY 2012An important step in the annual budget process is the release of the President’s budget request, which happened yesterday. The NIGMS slice is detailed in our FY 2012 budget justification, which includes a budget mechanism table, budget graphs, a Director’s overview and a justification narrative.

The proposed budget for NIH calls for an increase of 2.4% over Fiscal Year 2010 actual expenditures. The proposed budget for NIGMS represents a 2.5% increase over Fiscal Year 2010.

The reason that the comparisons are to Fiscal Year 2010 is that NIH is currently funded at that year’s level under a continuing resolution through March 4, 2011. As described in NIH Guide Notice NOT-OD-11-037, until a final Fiscal Year 2011 appropriation is enacted, NIH is issuing noncompeting research grant awards at a level below that indicated on the most recent Notice of Award (generally up to 90% of the previously committed level). This is consistent with our practice during the continuing resolutions of Fiscal Years 2006 to 2010. NIH will consider upward adjustments to these levels after a final appropriation is enacted.

Hearings on Fiscal Year 2011 Budget

Congressional hearings on the Fiscal Year 2011 President’s budget request for NIH are now under way. The hearing before the House subcommittee that handles NIH appropriations began at 10 a.m. today, and the Senate hearing will take place on May 5. The ultimate outcome will be a bill that appropriates funds for NIH, including NIGMS.

My written testimony and NIH Director Francis Collins’ written testimony on next year’s budget are now available.

Most NIGMS Recovery Act Funds Now Committed

Recovery Act Logo - Recovery.govAt this point in Fiscal Year 2010, we have committed nearly all of our Recovery Act funds. If you have not yet heard about the status of a supplement request, it’s very unlikely that we’ll be able to fund it.

As Jeremy Berg noted in an earlier post, we set a high priority on getting the funds out quickly, obligating approximately 90% of our allocation by the end of September 2009. We were able to fund about 40%
of the administrative supplement requests we received.

Budget News

On February 1, the President released his budget request for Fiscal Year 2011. The proposed budget for NIH calls for an increase of 3.2% over the Fiscal Year 2010 enacted levels (not including funds associated with the Recovery Act). The proposed budget for NIGMS represents a 3.6% increase over Fiscal Year 2010.

A major contributor to the larger increase for NIGMS compared with NIH overall is that the budget calls for a 6% increase in stipends associated with Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards. NIGMS supports substantially more training positions than the average across NIH.

The release of the President’s budget request is the first step in the appropriations process, which includes Congressional hearings and culminates with the passage and signing of a bill that appropriates funds for NIH.

We recently posted our Financial Management Plan for Fiscal Year 2010. Among the plan’s key elements are increasing the average size of a competing research project grant by approximately 2%, reducing noncompeting awards by 1% and increasing stipends on National Research Service Awards by 1%.

Fiscal Year 2009 R01 Funding Outcomes

Fiscal Year 2009, which ended on September 30, was a time of unprecedented opportunities for NIH due to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. As I noted previously, NIGMS used Recovery Act resources to support a variety of funding mechanisms.We have now analyzed the overall results for R01 grants using both our regular appropriation and Recovery Act funds. These results are shown in Figures 1-3.

Figure 1. Competing R01 applications reviewed (open rectangles) and funded (solid bars) in Fiscal Year 2009. The thicker bars (blue) correspond to applications supported using regular appropriated funds, while the thinner bars (red) correspond to applications supported using Recovery Act funds (2-year awards).

Figure 1. Competing R01 applications reviewed (open rectangles) and funded (solid bars) in Fiscal Year 2009. The thicker bars (blue) correspond to applications supported using regular appropriated funds, while the thinner bars (red) correspond to applications supported using Recovery Act funds (2-year awards).
Figure 2. NIGMS competing R01 funding curves for Fiscal Years 2005-2009. For Fiscal Year 2009, two curves are shown. The thicker curve (black) corresponds to grants made with regular appropriated funds, while the thinner curve (red) includes grants made with both regular appropriated and Recovery Act (ARRA) funds.

Figure 2. NIGMS competing R01 funding curves for Fiscal Years 2005-2009. For Fiscal Year 2009, two curves are shown. The thicker curve (black) corresponds to grants made with regular appropriated funds, while the thinner curve (red) includes grants made with both regular appropriated and Recovery Act (ARRA) funds.The success rate for R01 applications paid with regular appropriated funds was 27%, and the midpoint of the funding curve was at approximately the 22nd percentile. This percentile is slightly lower than that for Fiscal Year 2008. The success rate for R01 applications paid with regular appropriated and Recovery Act funds in Fiscal Year 2009 was 32%, with a midpoint on the funding curve near the 30th percentile. The curve including Recovery Act-funded awards is fairly broad because NIGMS considered additional factors in making funding decisions for Recovery Act awards.

The total NIGMS expenditures (including both direct and indirect costs) for R01 grants are shown in Figure 3 for Fiscal Year 1995 through Fiscal Year 2009.

Figure 3.  Overall NIGMS expenditures on R01 grants (competing and noncompeting, including supplements) in Fiscal Years 1995-2009.  The dotted line shows the impact of awards (including supplements) made with Recovery Act funds.  Results are in actual dollars with no correction for inflation.

Figure 3. Overall NIGMS expenditures on R01 grants (competing and noncompeting, including supplements) in Fiscal Years 1995-2009. The dotted line shows the impact of awards (including supplements) made with Recovery Act funds. Results are in actual dollars with no correction for inflation.

We are analyzing additional data on NIGMS funding trends and will be posting these results on the NIGMS Funding Trends Web site.

Noncompeting Grant Awards Under the Continuing Resolution

On October 30, the President signed Public Law 111-88, which includes appropriations for NIH to operate at Fiscal Year 2009 levels through December 18, 2009.

During this period, NIH will make noncompeting research grant awards at reduced levels, typically up to 90% of the previously committed level. This approach is consistent with our practice in previous years.

The policy affects research grants. Research training grants and fellowship awards will not be affected.

NIH anticipates that noncompeting awards will be adjusted upward once the level of the final appropriation has been established.

Recovery Act Summary for Fiscal Year 2009 and Plans for Fiscal Year 2010

Fiscal Year 2009 is now complete. In addition to distributing the funds associated with the NIGMS regular appropriation of nearly $2 billion, we were able to commit $463 million in Recovery Act funds (out of the $505 million allocated to NIGMS and approximately $21 million more provided to us by the NIH Office of the Director). We estimate that we have $63 million more to spend in Fiscal Year 2010. See the end of this post for more on our plans.

We made nearly 1,600 Recovery Act awards in Fiscal Year 2009, distributed as shown below:

Percentage by activity of total NIGMS Recovery Act funds

This plot shows the percentage by activity of total NIGMS Recovery Act funds (including the $505 million allocated to NIGMS and the approximately $21 million in additional funds that the NIH Office of the Director provided to support 17 Challenge grants and to co-fund the Grand Opportunity (GO) grants) (left) and the total amount awarded (including year 2 commitments, if any) (right). The number of awards in each activity is shown over each bar. The “Other” category includes a small number of awards in a range of activities, including supplements to K08, K99, R00, P01 and U01 mechanisms. More details about these awards can be found in NIH RePORTER.

Let me briefly describe the decision-making processes that led to this distribution. We set aside funds to support 15 Challenge grants (in addition to the Challenge grants assigned to NIGMS but supported by Recovery Act funds from the NIH Office of the Director), approximately 1 Grand Opportunity grant in each of the 10 NIGMS areas of interest and 20 Faculty start-up (P30) grants. Most of the remaining Recovery Act funds were allocated to the five NIGMS divisions and centers in proportion to their percentage of NIGMS funding.

For activities that had undergone recent peer review, such as Challenge (RC1) grant applications, R01 applications, AREA (R15) grant applications and competitive revisions, priority scores and—in many cases—the current availability of funds within investigators’ laboratories were major factors in determining funding priority.

For administrative supplements to grants that had been previously peer reviewed and funded, program directors took a number of factors into account, with the goal of attempting to maximize the potential impact of the portfolio of Recovery Act awards on the American scientific enterprise. First, the proposed research had to be within the scope of the original funded grant. Additional considerations included the potential impact of the proposed funding on the specific aims of the grant; NIGMS portfolio balance; whether investigators had received other Recovery Act support; the economic stimulus impact of the funding; and the distribution of funds across regions, states and institutions.

Overall, we were able to support approximately 40% of the administrative supplement requests that we received.

Approximately 10% of our Recovery Act funds remain to be invested in Fiscal Year 2010. We plan to use most of these funds to support—for up to one year—administrative supplements, competitive revisions and other applications that have already been submitted. This means that we are still considering funding a modest number of previously submitted administrative supplement requests and other awards with our limited remaining Recovery Act funds.

Now Showing: Budget Testimony

As part of the budget development process, I submit testimony each year to the House and Senate appropriations committees. My most recent statement is now online, as are previous ones.

This year, we decided to try something different and also offer a video version of the testimony. We deliberately kept it simple and want to know what you think of it.

Download free QuickTime Player Exit icon to view the following video.

Dr. Jeremy Berg's Appropriations Subcommittee Statement on the Fiscal Year 2010 Budget - May 21, 2009

Do you like having the option of watching a video in addition to reading the text? Should we keep doing this? Do you have suggestions for other approaches we should consider?

Justifying the NIGMS Budget

Every year, we develop a Congressional budget justification that supports our appropriation request for the upcoming fiscal year. We just posted our FY 2010 budget justification. It contains both retrospective and prospective information that might interest you, including: