NIH recently updated its Research, Condition, and Disease Classification (RCDC) system with FY 2020 actual spending data and estimates for FY 2021 and 2022. “Coronaviruses” is a new category as part of this update.
For over two decades, NIH has required researchers to include women, members of racial and ethnic minority groups, and children in their work absent an acceptable scientific or ethical rationale for their exclusion. Now, for the first time, selected inclusion data on sex/gender and race/ethnicity are publicly available disaggregated for various research, condition, and disease areas.
A few weeks ago, we touted the value of the NIH’s Research, Condition, and Disease Classification (RCDC) system to give us consistent annual reporting on official research budget categories and the ability to see trends in spending over time. RCDC’s robust scientific validation process, which allows for such consistency, provides public transparency into over 280 different NIH budget categories.
RCDC categories do not encompass all types of biomedical research. So, how can we get this type of data for other research areas that are not encompassed in RCDC categories, especially those which are newly emerging fields? Are we able to use the same thesaurus-based classification system to explore other research trends?
Remember hearing those stories about how your grand-PIs had to walk five miles, in the snow, uphill, with no shoes just to learn how NIH spent its research budget? Well, believe it or not, but that was just ten years ago. Today, we have the Research, Condition, and Disease Categorization (RCDC) webtool to do this in a blink of an eye. Now, following the official release of Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 data and updated estimates for FYs 2018 and 2019 last month, we wanted to celebrate a successful decade of service.
Recently, many voices have asked how NIH considers public health needs when setting funding priorities. The quick answer is that public health needs are a critical factor in our decision making—in addition to scientific merit, portfolio balance, and budgetary considerations. But the question of how one measures public health need, as it turns out, isn’t as simple as you might think.
Public health needs are not only reflected by how many people have a particular disease, but also by the burden of disease – the impact of a health condition as measured by mortality, morbidity, ….