Science Funding Resources

Making the Case for NIH Funding

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is vital to improving health, strengthening the economy, and investigating scientific frontiers. Congress has demonstrated its support for basic science and biomedical research by boosting funding for NIH by $2 billion over the past three years. To continue building on the progress made possible by these increases, we urge Congress to support at least $36.1 billionin NIH funding for FY2018.

Health and Discovery
NIH-supported research drives discovery that transforms medicine, improves treatments, and will one day lead to cures.

  • More than 1,000 neurological and neurodegenerative diseases1, such as schizophrenia, TBI, autism, and Parkinson’s disease, affect the lives of the nearly 100 million Americans.2,3
  • In the last five years of life, total health care spending for people with dementia 57% percent greater than costs associated with death from other diseases, including cancer and heart disease.
  • NIH-funded basic (also called fundamental) science is unlocking the mysteries these brain-related disorders. Today’s discoveries in the lab will pave the way for tomorrow’s treatments.

Economic Growth and Prosperity
NIH funding is an investment in our country’s future, reducing health care costs, supporting quality jobs, and increasing economic activity.

  • Neurological illnesses cost the U.S. nearly $800 billion5 a year. The only way to decrease these costs is to improve treatments. 
  • Every dollar of research money from the NIH generates approximately $2.21 in economic output.6
  • Eighty-five percent of NIH’s budget funds research located in every state, and it fuels almost 400,000 jobs and $58 billion in economic output nationwide. 

The Future of the Scientific Enterprise
Many of today’s discoveries were unimaginable less than a decade ago, yet recent cuts threaten that progress. Without a renewed commitment to research, who knows what medical advances will go undiscovered. 

  • The substantial lag time between discovery and profitability means that businesses need NIH research to explore fundamental science before they can translate discoveries into practical treatments.
  • Without a strong workforce, we are jeopardizing the future of U.S. competitiveness. Young scientists are moving to other careers due to stagnant funding.
  • The 2016 Global R&D Funding Forecast projects modest growth in U.S. R&D investments through 2028, and indicates that, if current trends hold, China will surpass the U.S. in total R&D spending by about 2026.12


Grindlinger, B. and Dougal, S. Putting Brain Power Behind Brain Disease. The New York Academy of Sciences Magazine. November 2011.

2 NINDS Overview. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. February 2009.

3 The Numbers Count: Mental Disorders in America. National Institute of Mental Health. 2010.

4 Medical Research: Saving Lives, Reducing the Cost of Health Care, Powering the Economy. Research!America. 2012.

5 Gooch, C., Pracht, E., Borenstein, A. 2017. The burden of neurological disease in the United States: A summary report and call to action. Annals of Neurology, 81(4):479-484.

6 In Your Own Backyard: How NIH Funding Helps Your State's Economy. Families USA. June 2008.

7 NIH Awards by Location & Organization. The National Institutes of Health.

8 Rockey, S. Age Distribution of NIH Principal Investigators and Medical School Faculty. February 2012.

9 Chakma, J., Sun, G., Steinberg, J.D., Sammut, S.M., Jagsi, R. Asia’s Ascent — Global Trends in Biomedical R&D Expenditures. The New

   England Journal of Medicine. 370:1. January 2014.

10 HHS FY2016 Budget in Brief. Health and Human Services. February 2015.

11 America Speaks: Poll Data Summary, Volume 16. Research America. January 2016.

12 2016 Global R&D Funding Forecast. R&D. February 2016.

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$34.1 billion
NIH FY 2017 budget

83 percent
amount of the NIH budget invested through local research institutions10

FY 2016 awards supported (50,800 in FY2015)7

researchers at10

research institutions10

68 percent
of Americans believe increasing NIH funding is critical.11

Contact SfN

If you have questions, email or call (202) 962-4000.

Want to be heard?
Contact SfN to leave feedback