« PreviousContinue »
with 41 awards in the regular program. With the increase provided in 1991 we
will be able to make two additional awards.
The training and career development of current and future research
investigators is an important activity of the NCRR. One of our most
successful programs is the clinical Associate Physician program, a clinical
research development program for physicians and dentists carried out at the
General clinical Research Centers. In 1991 we initiated a minority component of this program, designed to bring minority physicians and dentists Into clinical research. We plan to double the program in 1992 to include 10 minority physicians and dentists, in addition to the regular program.
The NCRR also supports a program to train veterinarians in laboratory animal medicine, a highly specialized area which requires an increasing level of trained personnel. These training programs provide approximately 30 laboratory animal veterinarians per year. We also provide support to 11 research career awardees in the Special Emphasis Research Career Award program, again in the laboratory animal sciences.
This year, in order to allow for the expansion of other high priority NIH research mechanisms, no funds are requested for the Biomedical Research Support Grant program.
The 1992 request includes $8.8 million for the shared Instrumentation
Grant progran of the Center, a reduction of $24 million from the amount
available in 1991.
This program funds high-cost Instruments to be shared by
three or more PHS Investigators in carrying out their research.
In order to
allow for additional resources for research project grants, some
responsibility for the cost of their purchase will have to be assumed by the
research institutions.or requested as part of the research project
The NCRR will continue to develop and provide many types of Infrastructure support to NIH Intramural researchers. Some of these resources are similar to those supported through the NCRR appropriation, in particular, in animal and non-animal nodels and sophisticated Instrumentation. The NCRR also provides medical arts and photography services and the services of the NIH 11brary. As in the past, these activities will be supported through the
NIH Management Fund and the Service and Supply Fund.
Woven together, all of NCRR's programs, both intramural and extramural,
strengthen and enhance the environment in which research advancements take
place, and help to carry out the mission of the NIH and its components, by
helping to accelerate the progress of biomedical research and helping to
contain research costs for NIH as a whole.
The total FY 1992 budget request for the National Center for Research Resources is $320,975,000. I will be happy to answer any questions you may
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF DR. ROBERT A. WHITNEY
Birthdate: July 27, 1935 - Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Education: D.V.M., Oklahoma State University College of Veterinary
Professional History: 1990 to present, Director, National Center
Uniformed Service: 1971 to present, U.S. Public Health Service,
Societies and Associations: American Association for Laboratory
Horors and Awards: USPHS Distinguished Service Medal; USPHS Surgeon
dation Medal: Department of Army Legion of Merit:
Publications: Author of one book and over 40 scientific papers.
BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH SUPPORT GRANTS Senator HARKIN. Thank you very much, Dr. Whitney.
Dr. Whitney, in fiscal year 1989, over $55 million was made available for biomedical research support grants. This year in 1991, only $22.2 million was made available, and I see your fiscal year 1992 request for this program is zero. I understand it has been a popular program which, on a formula basis, provides funding to institutions which have three or more NIH grants.
Your budget also proposes to cut the shared instrumentation grant program from $32.5 million in 1991 to $8.758 million, or a cut of almost $24 million.
These are two programs that have been somewhat popular, and I am wondering what the rationale is for cutting these programs.
Dr. WHITNEY. I believe that, within the constraints of the 1992 budget, these simply had a lower priority than the research project grants.
Senator HARKIN. Tell me about the biomedical research support grants. What are those?
FLEXIBLE FUNDS Dr. WHITNEY. Those are flexible funds that are, as you mentioned earlier, given to institutions that have some minimal amount of NIH funding. This is a program in which the institution has the flexibility of using the funds for a number of different purposes. Most of those funds are used to support pilot grants for young investigators who are developing the possibility of future research project grant applications, for funding grants between applications where there may be a lag in funding, and for general things like improvements and repair, and replacement of small instruments that break down. This is a fund at the institution that has the flexibility and instant capability to be responsive.
Senator HARKIN. It sounds like this is something that is really important to the smaller schools, those that are not in the mainstream of grants.
Dr. WHITNEY. On a formula basis, in 1991, the smaller schools will be getting a minimum of $5,000, where the larger schools may get up to $200,000. The program goes across the board.
Senator HARKIN. And the formula is based upon the number of grants?
Dr. WHITNEY. The formula is based upon the amount of money that NIH is providing to the institution in grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements.
Senator HARKIN. I see. I am not correct in my assumption then.
The shared instrumentation grant. Just at the very sound of it, it sounds good. Why would that be cut?
Dr. WHITNEY. Again, I think it is simply a matter of staying within the constraints of the budget without impacting too heavily on other programs. This is 1-year money, and so it is easier to work with this budget than it is to work with budgets that have 3 and 4 out-years to be dealt with.
Senator HARKIN. Last year, this committee asked NIH to explore the alternative of using marine animals for biomedical research. What were your findings with regard to any nonprimate marine animals for research?
Dr. WHITNEY. We have had a good response to our request for applications for grants in the biological models and materials research program using marine models, everything from sea urchins to different species of fish. That RFA, or a program announcement, will be repeated next year, and we will continue to try to stimulate activity within development of marine and other aquatic models from this program. If you will recall, we had a 50-percent increase in that program last year.
Senator HARKIN. I see the budget request for buildings and facilities includes $16.5 million for animal facilities. Will this funding, along with the previous appropriations, be adequate to bring NIH facilities up to standards issued by the American Association of Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care?
Dr. WHITNEY. That plus one more increment will do that in 1992. There is a 1993 increment also. Senator HARKIN. How much is that going to be?
Dr. WHITNEY. I believe it is $12 million for 1993, in the buildings and facilities funds.
Senator HARKIN. Dr. Raub.
Dr. RAUB. Mr. Chairman, may I add something and perhaps Dr. Whitney will want to elaborate. Based on the previous appropriations, we have reached a point where we have filed an application with the outside accreditation group for a review and, we hope, accreditation of the 20 percent or so of our existing facilities that are not yet fully accredited. But the continuing request we have in 1992 is part of the longer term task of maintaining accreditation. Dr. Whitney is much better informed about that process than I am.
Dr. WHITNEY. We expect to be site-visited sometime between June and August of this year.
QUESTIONS SUBMITTED BY THE SUBCOMMITTEE Senator HARKIN. Very good. Thank you. There will be some additional questions which will be submitted for your response in the record.
[The following questions were not asked at the hearing, but were submitted to the Institute for response subsequent to the hearing:)
QUESTIONS SUBMITTED BY THE SUBCOMMITTEE
GENERAL CLINICAL RESEARCH CENTERS
Question. I understand your institute supports 74 clinical research centers around the country that are available and used to support the various clinical trials that the other Institutes initiate. Most of these clinical research centers I believe are located in hospitals and are programs which hospitals very much want to keep. Describe for the committee the nature of cost sharing arrangements between NIH and the hospitals which house these programs.
Answer. Approximately 25 percent of all the research projects hosted at the 74 General clinical Research Centers around the country are dedicated to clinical trials research. In general, the hospital-based costs paid by the Program are set by the regional office of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). In several cases, over the past few years, those rates at some centers have appeared to be much higher than those for other nearby institutions. On a case-by-case basis, program and grants management staff of the National Center for Research Resources have been able to negotiate lower rates for space costs, resulting in significant savings. The hospitals which host the General clinical Research Centers readily acknowledge the role that the facility plays in their overall clinical research mission. To remain competitive with other sites throughout the country, many of the hospitals, associated with academic medical centers, have accepted levels of reimbursement below that set by the regional HHS office.
Question. I see that your request for the clinical Research program is $126,891,000 or a 6.3 percent increase over 1991. How much are hospitals and other host institutions providing in matching or cost sharing funds?
Answer. It is difficult to quantify the funds contributed by the host Institutions of the General Clinical Research Centers (GCRC). The cost of conducting clinical research has increased at rates which significantly exceed the biomedical research development price index over the past few years. Administratively, funds provided by the GCRC Program are adjusted to cost, based on institutional analyses which are approved by the regional office of Department of Health and Human Services. Over the past two fiscal years, hospital based costs increased at rates of approximately 20 percent per year and accounted for approximately 40 percent of the entire GCRC program budget. As a result, several GCRC sites were requested to reanalyze their budgets to develop a more cost effective configuration for their centers. To reach that goal, several institutions hosting GCRC sites reduced the cost for hosting the Center at their institution significantly. In FY 1990, the level of savings was approximately $2,000,000. In addition to