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The budget submitted to Congress by the president would reduce funding to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) by almost $1.8 billion, a reduction of 2.6%. Within this overall contraction, the proposed changes in funding levels among the various HHS agencies and departments would vary widely. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) would receive an increase of just under $200 million, or 0.7%.
Because the number of research project grants will be increasing from the current fiscal year, costs would need to be constrained by reducing the average award of the grants themselves. No inflationary increases would be provided for direct costs of research project grants, but programmatic increases that were previously committed to would be funded.
The NIH roadmap would receive a 42% increase under the proposed budget. The vast majority of this increase would come from the Director's Discretionary Account, but $250 million would need to come from the NIH institutes and centers, which would account for approximately 0.9% of their funding.
The changes within the proposed budget would also have an effect on postdoctoral support. Ruth Kirschstein National Research Awards would remain unchanged from the current levels, but extramural executive-level salaries would be reduced to Executive Level II. Postdoctoral researchers with 1 to 2 years of experience would receive a 4% increase in stipend support, and all levels of experience would see an increase in support for health benefits. However, to accommodate the increase in health care support, the total number of trainees would be reduced.
Additional information on the proposed NIH budget may be found at http://www.nih.gov/news/budget/FY2006presbudget.pdf. For more information on the president's budget, go to http://whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/fy2006/hhs.html.
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