HHS FY2016 Budget in Brief

National Institutes of HealthNational Institutes of Health (NIH)

An organ on a chip -- they're flexible polymer substrates with hollow channels lined with living cells.

The mission of the National Institutes of Health is to seek fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and the application of that knowledge to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability.

NIH Budget Overview

(Dollars in millions)

Institutes 2014 2015 /1 2016 2016
+/- 2015
National Cancer Institute 4,932 4,953 5,098 +145
National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute 2,989 2,996 3,072 +76
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research 398 398 407 +9
National Inst. of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases 1,884 1,899 1,938 +39
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke 1,589 1,605 1,660 +56
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases 4,401 4,418 4,615 +197
National Institute of General Medical Sciences 2,367 2,372 2,434 +61
Eunice K. Shriver Natl. Inst. of Child Health & Human Development 1,283 1,287 1,318 +31
National Eye Institute 676 677 695 +18
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences: Labor/HHS Appropriation 666 667 682 +14
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences: Interior Appropriation 77 77 77
National Institute on Aging 1,172 1,198 1,267 +70
National Inst. of Arthritis & Musculoskeletal & Skin Diseases 520 522 533 +12
National Inst. on Deafness and Communication Disorders 404 405 416 +11
National Institute of Mental Health 1,420 1,434 1,489 +56
National Institute on Drug Abuse 1,018 1,016 1,047 +32
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism 446 447 460 +13
National Institute of Nursing Research 141 141 145 +4
National Human Genome Research Institute 498 499 515 +17
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering 327 327 337 +10
National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities 268 271 282 +11
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine 124 124 128 +3
National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences 634 633 660 +27
Fogarty International Center 68 68 70 +2
National Library of Medicine 337 337 394 +57
Office of the Director 1,303 1,414 1,443 +29
Buildings and Facilities 128 129 129
Total, Program Level 30,070 30,311 31,311 +1,000


Less Funds from Other Sources 2014 2015 /1 2016 2016
+/- 2015
PHS Evaluation Funds (NLM) -8 -715 -847 -132
Type 1 Diabetes Research (NIDDK) /2 -139 -150 -150
Total, Discretionary Budget Authority 29,001 30,003 30,203 +200



Appropriations 2014 2015 /1 2016 2016
+/- 2015
Labor/HHS Appropriation 29,845 29,369 30,237 +868
Interior Appropriation 77 77 77


Tables Footnotes

1/ The FY 2015 appropriations also provided $238 million in emergency resources to support Ebola response and preparedness activities.

2/ These mandatory funds were pre‑appropriated in P.L. 112‑240, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, and P.L. 113-93, the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014, and are proposed for reauthorization in FY 2016.

Full Time Equivalents

2014: 18,048
2015: 18,150
2016: 18,150
2016 +/- 2015:

NIH Programs and Services

The FY 2016 Budget requests $31.3 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an increase of $1 billion, or 3.3 percent, over FY 2015. The FY 2016 request supports the Administration’s priority to invest in innovative biomedical and behavioral research that advances medical science and improves health while stimulating economic growth. In FY 2016, NIH estimates it will support a total of 35,447 research project grants, including over 10,000 new and competing awards.

Begun as a one-room Laboratory of Hygiene in 1887, NIH serves as the nation’s medical research agency. Today, it is the largest source of multidisciplinary funding for biomedical and behavioral research in the world. NIH’s budget is composed of 27 appropriations for its Institutes and Centers, Office of the Director, and Buildings and Facilities. In FY 2016, about 83 percent of the funds appropriated to NIH will flow out to the extramural community, which supports work by more than 300,000 research personnel at over 2,500 organizations, including universities, medical schools, hospitals, and other research facilities. NIH has supported 145 Nobel Prize winners over the past 46 years. About 11 percent of the Budget will sustain an in-house, or intramural, program of basic and clinical research and training activities managed by world class physicians and scientists. This intramural research program gives the nation the unparalleled ability to respond immediately to national and global health challenges. It includes the NIH Clinical Center, the largest hospital in the world totally dedicated to clinical research. Another six percent will provide for agency leadership, research management and support, and facilities maintenance and improvements.

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Research Priorities in FY 2016

In fulfilling its mission, NIH strives to fund a strong, diverse portfolio of biomedical research, flexible enough to capitalize on scientific opportunities and to respond to urgent public health needs as they arise. In FY 2016, with the $31.3 billion requested, NIH will focus on the priorities of generating basic science findings, translating these basic discoveries into improvements in personal and public health, better use of data and technology, and recruiting a diverse, creative, and talented workforce upon which the robust research enterprise depends.

NIH Disease Accomplishments

As a result of long-term national investments, scientific and technological breakthroughs generated by NIH-supported research are behind much of the gains in health and longevity that the nation has enjoyed. For example:

NIH research has generated effective drugs for lowering cholesterol, controlling blood pressure, and dissolving artery-clogging blood clots, as well as new techniques for heart attack prevention, including helping people make lifestyle changes that promote cardiovascular health. As a result, the death rate today for coronary heart disease is 60 percent lower – and for stroke, more than 70 percent lower – than during the World War II era in which cardiovascular disease caused half of U.S. deaths and claimed the lives of many people in their 50s or 60s.

Over the past 15 years, cancer death rates in the U.S. have dropped about one percent annually, due in large measure to NIH’s success in improving the basic understanding of the causes and mechanisms of cancer, improving early detection and diagnosis, developing effective treatments, and expanding knowledge of cancer prevention strategies.

NIH has led the global research effort against HIV/AIDS over the past 34 years, enabling the development of rapid HIV tests and the identification of a new class of HIV-fighting drugs that could be combined in life-saving ways in the clinic. As a result, HIV infection has changed from a virtual death sentence into a manageable chronic disease. Today, HIV-infected people in their 20s who receive combination therapy may expect to live to age 70 or beyond.

Unraveling Life’s Mysteries through Basic Research: Advances in basic research fields such as genomics, proteomics, stem cells, the microbiome, imaging, and other technologies have transformed our understanding of how life works. Approximately 54 percent of the NIH research budget is devoted to basic biomedical and behavioral research.

Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative: In FY 2016, NIH plans to spend $135 million, an increase of $70 million over FY 2015, to expand the BRAIN Initiative, which is aimed at revolutionizing our understanding of the human brain. By accelerating the development and application of innovative technologies, researchers will be able to produce a new dynamic picture of the brain that, for the first time, shows how individual cells and complex neural circuits interact in both real time and space. This picture will fill major gaps in our current knowledge and provide unprecedented opportunities for exploring exactly how the brain enables the human body to record, process, utilize, store, and retrieve vast quantities of information, all at the speed of thought. Ultimately, the technologies developed under the BRAIN Initiative may help reveal the underlying pathology in a vast array of brain disorders and provide new avenues to treat, cure, and even prevent neurological and psychiatric conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease, autism, depression, schizophrenia, and addiction.

Translating Discovery into Health: NIH is heavily invested in translating recent insights about the molecular basis of disease into effective interventions that improve the health of individuals and the public, from diagnostics and therapeutics to medical procedures, behavioral changes, and disease prevention strategies.

Antimicrobial Resistance: NIH proposes to spend $461 million in FY 2016, an increase of $100 million over FY 2015, in support of the Administration’s National Strategy to Combat Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria. These funds will be used to spur the development of new, rapid diagnostics to help ensure that antibiotics are prescribed appropriately; develop a national database of genome sequence data of all reported human infections with antimicrobial-resistant microorganisms; launch a large-scale effort to characterize drug resistance, focusing on changes in host/pathogen molecular interactions that occur as bacteria develop resistance to treatments; and create a rapid-response clinical trial network to test new antibiotics on individuals infected with highly resistant strains. Jointly funded at $20 million with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, NIH is working to design a public competition for the accelerated development of an affordable, accurate, and rapid diagnostic test to be used by healthcare providers to identify highly resistant bacterial infections at the point of patient care.

Alzheimer’s Disease: To assist in meeting the goal to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer’s disease by 2025, NIH is continuing to implement the research components of the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease. NIH estimates it will spend $638 million on Alzheimer’s research in FY 2016, an increase of $51 million over FY 2015. NIH continues to invest in a broad spectrum of basic and translational research activities to combat Alzheimer’s disease. This includes basic neuroscience research, epidemiologic studies to identify risk and protective genes, and clinical studies to identify biomarkers for early disease diagnosis and for disease progression. In addition, more than 25 NIH-funded clinical trials are underway, and more than 40 grants are testing compounds as potential preventive and therapeutic interventions for Alzheimer’s and cognitive decline.

Vaccine Development: The FY 2016 request includes an increase of $51 million for NIH to invest in developing new or improved vaccines, particularly for HIV/AIDS and influenza. Several promising new HIV vaccine candidates are undergoing clinical trials and NIH is seeking to boost the efficacy of other previously tested candidates. With the additional funding proposed for FY 2016, these efforts will be accelerated, as will research using cutting-edge knowledge of immunology, genomics and structural biology to develop a universal influenza vaccine which could confer decades-long protection from any influenza virus strain and potentially end the need for annual flu shots.

Accelerating Medicines Partnership: In FY 2016, NIH will spend $23 million, the same level as in FY 2015, to continue to implement the Accelerating Medicines Partnership, a bold new venture between NIH, ten biopharmaceutical companies, and several non-profit organizations to transform the current model for developing new diagnostics and therapeutics by jointly identifying and validating promising biological targets of disease. The initial focus of the Partnership is on three- to five-year pilot projects in three disease areas: Alzheimer’s disease, type 2 diabetes, and the autoimmune disorders of rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

Harnessing Data and Technology to Improve Health: Biomedical science continues to generate immense and complex datasets that present challenges for data creation, storage, and analysis, but also extraordinary opportunities to answer questions about biology, behavior, and medicine that previously were unanswerable.

Targeted Therapies for Disorders of the Immune System in Children

NIH has set a performance goal for the next several years to identify more molecular-targeted therapies for disorders of the immune system in children. To help achieve this, NIH is supporting the International Childhood Arthritis Genetics Consortium, which recently completed a genome-wide association study of 982 patients with systemic-onset juvenile idiopathic arthritis (also known as Still’s disease) and over 7,000 healthy control patients, examining 1.4 million genetic markers. This study identified the first known genetic variant that is linked to this disease. This genetic variant indicated that a specific T cell activation pathway may be a therapeutic target, a significant step toward developing an effective treatment for this childhood immune system disorder.

Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K): NIH established the BD2K program in 2012 to develop systems and expertise that enable optimal use of the vast potential of Big Data in biomedical science, such as high-resolution medical images, recorded physiological signals, and next generation gene sequencing of large numbers of individuals. NIH will devote $102 million In FY 2016, an increase of $20 million over FY 2015, to the BD2K program to facilitate sharing and protection of data among researchers across the nation through a Data Commons, develop faster and more accurate analytical methods and software, enhance training, and establish Centers of Excellence. Such efforts will help solve the most intractable Big Data problems to deepen our understanding of disease and speed translation of new treatments.

Preparing a Diverse and Talented Biomedical Research Workforce: An important part of the biomedical research endeavor is a diverse, well trained, and highly creative workforce capable of developing new scientific insights and translating these insights into improved health outcomes. To encourage exceptionally promising new investigators and to speed the transition of talented trainees to independent researcher positions, in FY 2016, NIH will continue to emphasize several High-Risk, High Reward research programs, such as the Pioneer Research Awards, the NIH Director’s Early Independence Awards, Transformative Research Awards, and New Innovator Awards, as well as the Pathway to Independence Awards. In addition to these High-Risk, High-Reward activities managed within or in collaboration with the Common Fund, a number of NIH Institutes and Centers are now introducing similar programs of their own, which are expected to expand in FY 2016.

NIH will also continue to implement a series of steps to enhance its effort to recruit and advance the careers of people traditionally underrepresented in the biomedical and behavioral research workforce. For example, NIH will continue to provide mentorship and resources to undergraduate students in relatively under-resourced institutions that are interested in pursuing a biomedical research career. Other efforts include building a nationwide consortium that will connect students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty to experienced mentors, and improving upon data collection and evaluation efforts to determine the most effective approaches. In addition, to help prepare the research workforce to thrive in an increasingly multidisciplinary environment, NIH has established the Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training Awards to allow trainees to supplement their academic experience with training in industry, non-profits, government, policy, science communication, and other settings within the biomedical research enterprise.

Precision Medicine Initiative

As part of a new cross-Department initiative, NIH plans to spend $200 million in FY 2016 to focus on developing treatments tailored to the individual characteristics of each patient, also known as precision medicine. The convergence of incredible breakthroughs in genomic sequencing technologies, computing power, and data sciences, coupled with a rapidly growing understanding of the molecular basis of disease has paved the way for an era of precision medicine.

Cancer Genomics ($70 million): The battle against cancer has been leading the way in precision medicine for many years. To capitalize on these successes, the FY 2016 request proposes to expand current cancer genomics research to initiate new studies of how a tumor’s DNA can be used to predict and treat tumor cells that develop resistance to a therapy, apply new non-invasive methods to track response to therapy, and explore the efficacy of new combinations of cancer drugs targeted to specific tumor mutations.

National Research Cohort ($130 million): To harness the full potential of precision medicine across many diseases, NIH will use the FY 2016 request to launch a national research cohort of one million or more individuals, primarily those who have already participated in clinical research studies, who volunteer to share their genetic information in the context of other health data over time. This information will be linked to their electronic health records while ensuring privacy protections are in place. A database of this scale will lay the foundation for a wealth of new research studies which promises to lead to new prevention strategies, and novel therapeutics and medical devices. It will also help improve how drugs are prescribed, allowing a more optimum choice of the right drug at the right dose for the right person.

In FY 2016, NIH estimates it will spend a total of $785 million to support training 15,735 of the next generation of research scientists through the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards program. The Budget proposes a two percent stipend increase for predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees in FY 2016.

HIV/AIDS: NIH estimates it will devote $3.1 billion for research on HIV/AIDS in FY 2016, an increase of $100 million over FY 2015. With newly discovered ways of identifying and treating HIV infection and preventing HIV transmission, coupled with the promise of safe, effective, and affordable vaccines, the world can, for the first time, imagine achieving an AIDS-free generation.

Pediatric Research: NIH will continue in FY 2016 the $13 million for pediatric research authorized under the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act of 2014. Across the entire agency, NIH estimates it will spend a total of more than $3.6 billion for pediatric research in FY 2016, an increase of $75 million over FY 2015.

Research Project Grants: NIH estimates that it will devote $17.2 billion, or 55 percent of its total budget, to finance a total of 35,447 competitive, peer‑reviewed, and largely investigator-initiated research project grants in FY 2016. Within this total, NIH anticipates supporting over 10,000 new and competing grants, an increase of over 1,200 grants above FY 2015 levels.

Intramural Buildings and Facilities

A total of $145 million is requested for NIH intramural Buildings and Facilities in FY 2016, an increase of $8 million over FY 2015, to sustain and improve the physical infrastructure used to carry out quality biomedical research on the NIH campuses. Most of the funds will be used for facility repairs and improvements. The Buildings and Facilities mechanism total also includes $16 million, an increase of $8 million over FY 2015, requested within the National Cancer Institute budget for facilities repair and improvement projects at its Frederick, Maryland campus.

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Overview by Mechanism

Mechanism 2014 2015 2016 2016
+/- 2015
Research Project Grants (dollars) 16,168 16,333 17,206 +873
[ # of NonCompeting Grants] [23,504] [23,433] [23,303] [-130]
[ # of New/Competing Grants] [9,168] [9,076] [10303] [+1,227]
[ # of Small Business Grants] [1,660] [1,697] [1,841] [+144]
[ Total # of Grants ] [34,332] [34,206] [35,447] [+1, 241]
Research Centers 2,723 2,699 2,637 -63
Other Research 1,847 1,844 1,882 +38
Research Training 738 762 785 +23
Research and Development Contracts 2,990 2,899 2,896 -3
Intramural Research 3,384 3,426 3,521 +95
Research Management and Support 1,528 1,561 1,580 +20
Office of the Director 477 573 582 +9
NIH Common Fund (nonadd) [531] [546] [566] [+20]
Buildings and Facilities 136 137 145 +8
NIEHS Interior Appropriation (Superfund) 77 77 77
Total, Program Level 30,070 30,311 31,311 +1,000


Less Funds Allocated from Other Sources 2014 2015 2016 2016
+/- 2015
PHS Evaluation Funds (NLM) -8 -715 -847 -132
Type 1 Diabetes Research (NIDDK) 1/ -139 -150 -150
Total, Budget Authority 29,923 29,446 30,314 +868
Labor/HHS Appropriation 29,845 29,369 30,237 +868
Interior Appropriation 77 77 77

Table Footnote:

1/ These mandatory funds were pre appropriated in P.L. 112-240, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, and P.L. 113-93, the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014 and are proposed for reauthorization in FY 2016.

Of the FY 2016 NIH Budget of $31.3 billion, 55.0% percent would go towards research and project grants. The remaining amounts would go towards intramural research (11.2%), research and development contracts (9.3%), research centers (8.4%), other research (8.1%), research management and support (5.1%), research training (2.5%), and facilities and construction (0.4%).

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