What a wonderful day for biomedical research, and what a privilege it is for the NIH both to create jobs and to fund excellent science. To President Obama, the 111th US Congress, and the American people, thank you. We are truly grateful to be part of such a historic effort.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) gives a total of $10.4 billion to the National Institutes of Health that we will need to expend by September 2010. $8.2 billion of this will be devoted to research funding. $1 billion is allocated to construction and renovation of extramural research facilities and another $300 million goes to the acquisition of shared instrumentation and other capital research equipment.
This is a huge amount of money–the $8.2 billion alone is over double the amount we spent on competing research grants last year. It makes for an even greater impact when you consider the powerful economic multiplier that research has on local and regional communities. This means jobs not only for scientists, but also for health workers, for technicians, for students, trade workers and administrators, and many others who will receive the leveraged benefits from this investment.
We expect to issue as many meritorious grants as possible in the fiscal year of 2009 to support the goals of the ARRA and to advance scientific priorities. We will fund wisely and expeditiously, and we will allow NIH’s Institutes and Centers maximum flexibility to spend the ARRA monies toward their respective missions in the spirit of the law. Funding will be concentrated on sending research grants across every geographic region of our country. These grants, proposed directly by scientists, must have a reasonable expectation of meaningful progress within two years.
We will also accelerate the tempo of ongoing science by extending both administrative and competing revisions to currently supported projects. These competitive revisions may be used to expand the scope of current research awards or to enhance infrastructure and equipment for these projects.
NIH further intends to fuel new activities that fit into the structure of the ARRA. We will jumpstart the effort with the new Challenge Grant program–challenging investigators to focus on health and science problems that particularly stand to benefit from two years of in-depth study.
This is not business as usual here at NIH. Our approach will not be formulaic. Institutes will have the flexibility to make awards across the full range of grant programs. We are committed to using the money in the spirit of the ARRA–to fund projects that will stimulate the economy and that will create and retain jobs. We will fund projects that advance the NIH mission and produce meaningful results for biomedical research and for public health.
Every award will meet the goals of the Act and with the highest degree of transparency. You, the research community, will be our partners in these objectives. Together we will preserve and create jobs. Together we will drive biomedical research that improves health and health care in this nation.