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tion, I note a particular finding by scientists at the New
None of these scientific advances would have been possible without laboratory animals. They illustrate the indispensability of research with animals and its extraordinary importance for combatting human disease and disability. The work with SIV and monkeys almost certainly will set the pace of progress for much of the AIDS research effort for the foreseeable future. Similarly, the use of animals was crucial to the progress of the gene therapy studies and the work on spinal cord injury.
The scientific developments that I have highlighted and the others that will be presented in subsequent testimony demonstrate that the biomedical research community is entering the 1990s with unprecedented opportunities for new discoveries that will improve human health. Indeed, we are now supporting more biomedical research scientists today than at any point in history. These many scientists will be available to pursue an unprecedented number of these opportunities. When discussing scientific opportunities, it should be noted that the very nature of scientific progress means that with every new discovery or advance, more new opportunities are uncovered--and that it becomes obvious that it would be impossible to pursue every one of this ever multiplying number of opportunities. The NIH is pursuing a record level of these opportunities and works to ensure that the Nation's resources are applied to those investigations with the greatest chances of success. It should also be noted that these opportunities arise in the context of substantial increases in the costs of conducting biomedical research and the prospect of tight restraints on domestic spending by the Federal Government.
In response to these realities, the NIH has developed and put into practice the financial management plan called for by the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. The core idea is to impose specific constraints on the year-to-year growth of the costs of grants in the aggregate, but to allow the informed judgement of peer reviewers and staff to obtain on a grant-by-grant basis within these ceilings. The plan takes into account the need for its continuing evaluation and refinement in consultation with Congress and, the biomedical research community. The FY 1992 NIH budget request was formulated in accordance with the principles of the financial management plan.
The President's FY 1992 request for the NIH totals $8,774.9 million, an increase of $498.1 million or 6 percent over the FY 1991 level. Included in this request is $851.2 million for AIDS, an increase of 5.8 percent; $110.5 million for the Human Genome
Program, an increase of 26.4 percent; and $112.6 million for minority programs, an increase of 26.1 percent.
Within the requested total for FY 1992, NIH concentrated heavily on providing substantial increases to the most researchintensive mechanisms, especially those supporting basic research. Thus, research project grants, research centers, cooperative clinical research, R & D contracts, the intramural program, and cancer prevention and control were accorded the largest increases. In the aggregate, an increase of 7.6 percent is requested for these mechanisms. Research project grants would be funded at a level of $4,892.8 million, which is 8.8 percent over the FY 1991 level. That is 3 percent real growth when compared with the Biomedical Research and Development Price Index, which currently is 5.8 percent.
The requested amount would fund 21,818 research project grants, 632 more than in FY 1991, and the highest number ever in one year. This includes support for 5,785 competing research project grants, the same level as the current fiscal year. The funded rate for competing grants, that is, the percent of reviewed applications funded, would be 26 percent.
The NIH believes it is critical that a stable number of research trainees receive support and that adequate stipend levels be provided. Thus, the FY 1992 request of $314.6 million will support a total of 12,318 trainees, an increase of 140 trainees over the FY 1991 level, while providing for a 4 percent increase in stipends.
Manifesting the high priority that the NIH attaches to improving the health status of minorities and to addressing minority underrepresentation in biomedical research, the budget request includes an overall increase of 26.1 percent for NIH programs designed to assist minority biomedical researchers. An important feature of the budget is the provision of $15 million to initiate a new Research Facility Improvement Program for renovation of existing facilities and the construction of new facilities at historically Black colleges and universities and similar institutions; these institutions will be assisted toward making their environments competitive with those of research-intensive majority institutions.
The intramural research program at NIH constitutes the Nation's preeminent institution for biomedical sciences. The excellence of NIH scientists and the exceptional intramural facilities afford many research opportunities that do not exist elsewhere. The request for intramural research of $987.9 million provides an increase of 6.8 percent over the FY 1991 level; included in the request is a onetime amount of $4.2 million to outfit the new Silvio 0. Conte Child Health/Neuroscience Building. Also featured in the budget request is $104 million to continue the multiyear effort to revitalize the infrastructure of NIH research laboratories and supporting systems.
In FY 1992, the NIH proposes to continue the Biomedical/Life Science Education Program it launched in FY 1991 to stimulate interest in biomedical careers in the pre-college years and to promote adult science literacy. This new program is designed to complement the general science and math education initiatives being spearheaded by the National Science Foundation and the Department of Education.
The request includes $2.5 million for the new Office of Minority Programs, which is responsible for establishing NIH-wide goals and policies for activities targeted at research and training related to minorities. Leadership in this program will be provided by the newly-appointed Associate Director for Minority Programs. This program is a part of NIH's effort to address overall minority program direction and improve minority health.
With respect to employment of personnel within the Agency, the NIH has outlined its plans for increasing the number of minorities and women in applicant pools by undertaking special outreach and recruitment efforts. Increased representation of minorities and women in applicant pools will eventually result in more hiring from these groups. Increased emphasis will be placed on providing quality training and career development opportunities to address underrepresentation and salary disparities among the various groups.
The request also includes $2.5 million for the Office of Women's Health Research. Using these funds, the NIH Associate Director for Research on Women's Health will work with the Institutes to ensure that research pertaining to women's health is identified and addressed through activities conducted and supported by the NIH.
Within the Office of the Director, a total of $20 million is requested for the Director's Discretionary Fund. This fund proved particularly valuable to date during FY 1991 in providing resources to launch preliminary efforts relevant to science education, minority health, and women's health described above. Requested funding for the National Library of Medicine of $100.54 million is a 10 percent increase over the FY 1991 level and includes a $3 million increase for NLM activities related to the multiagency High Performance Computing and Communications Initiative being coordinated by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
The year 1992 promises to be another good one for NIH, as the Agency continues exploring the frontiers of biomedical research in an effort to improve human health. Many, many scientific inquiries will be supported, helping to ensure a healthier future for the citizens of the United States.
I would be pleased to respond to your questions.
Senator HARKIN. Thank you very much, Dr. Raub.
Senator HATFIELD. Mr. Chairman, you are very gracious. Thank you very much.
Senator HARKIN. I appreciate your being here.
Senator HATFIELD. Dr. Raub, could you give us a little assessment of your math/science initiative that we commended you and encouraged you to expand last year in the Senate report? As you know, since that time, Senator Kennedy and I have succeeded in passing, I guess, the only education legislation enacted last session in establishing regional math/science centers. These centers will address the same duality of developing interest at the elementary school level in math/science and to also renew the interest of teach
ers and provide them more hands-on activity. So, would you give us a little assessment of what you think you've accomplished and where you may be headed with this program?
Dr. RAUB. The effort begins with the recognition, as you just said, that it is no longer enough for the NIH to limit itself to predoctoral and postdoctoral training and career development, that we must extend our interests further, more specifically to include the K through 12 setting.
Our initiative has many components to it. The cornerstone is the introduction this year of science education partnership awards that we are undertaking in collaboration with the Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration. These awards will be made to institutions, primarily academic institutions, that will encourage partnerships among working scientists in the universities and the industrial setting, professional educators in the school systems, and other interested members and institutions in the community. The general idea is to get young people knowledgeable and excited about science, to expose them to some role models, to the issues that face our society. While we obviously hope that many of them will be attracted into science studies and, therefore, science careers, even for those who are not, we believe it is vital that the level of public literacy about science, whatever professions they enter, be high.
Complementing that initiative, there are a number of other activities. As part of biomedical research support grants, we have a special element that encourages high school science teachers, especially those who are minorities or who teach large numbers of minority students, to have an affiliation such as a summer research experience in a research laboratory. We hope these affiliations will give them new insights, new relationships, and connections that will last them through the year, not only to keep their own literacy and motivation high, but to pass that on to their students.
NIH itself has cooperative efforts with a number of institutions in the region. One of the programs we will begin this year is the Saturday Scholars, which will provide an extended Saturday morning lecture and laboratory experience for high school students in this area. This is but the beginning of what we hope can be a comprehensive and thorough reentry into this aspect of math and science education.
Senator HATFIELD. Do you remember a year or two ago we had difficulty in maintaining a stable number of training grants? There were many reasons, but one was the inadequate levels of the stipends. And your authorized increase of the stipend resulted in a reduction of the number of grants awarded. How are we doing on training grants this fiscal year? Have you filled all of the slots in the training grant programs, say, for fiscal year 1991?
Dr. RAUB. The slots for the training grant programs continue to be actively sought after, and it remains a high priority effort for us with somewhere in excess of 12,000 trainees. We are proposing a stipend increase as part of the 1992 request, an increase of 4 percent, as a way of staying competitive in that arena. As I am sure you can appreciate, the situations vary considerably across the
country with some areas much more expensive than others. With our stipend level, we are competitive in many parts of the country, but institutions in the high-cost regions do supplement our stipend levels from private local funds as a way of making themselves competitive. We believe we have a workable, stable arrangement there, and are anxious to continue that investment in the next generation of scientists.
Senator HATFIELD. One last question. Do you have a date when the National Commission on Sleep Disorders will be finishing up their report?
Dr. RAUB. I do not know the date exactly. I know they are looking toward possibly this fall having, if not the final report, certainly some major information available. As you know, several of our institutes have a strong research interest in various aspects of sleeping disorders.
Senator HATFIELD. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, Dr. Raub.
DISSEMINATION OF RESEARCH RESULTS
Senator HARKIN. Dr. Raub, one item that was in the paper this morning announced a new treatment which cuts rectal cancer deaths sharply. It is not so much the substance that I wanted to focus my first question on, but rather the procedure of announcing these new findings and clinical trials.
There have been over the last year a number of situations in the press where there have been complaints raised that a lot of these scientific findings were not released early because they waited until they were published in the scientific journal, usually the New England Journal of Medicine. The charge has been too often researchers are intent on having their research work published first in medical journals and withhold information from the practicing medical community until the publications occur. This, in fact, has often been a requirement for publication.
I just wonder what policy reviews you have put in place to ensure that as soon as valid research results are available, they are released and disseminated in an aggressive manner to the medical community around the country?
Dr. RAUB. We have made that process a high priority issue during the past year. The Cancer Institute's announcement yesterday, that appears in the newspaper today, was developed with what is emerging as an NIH-wide approach for selective, rapid dissemination of that kind of information.
In the past, many institutions, including NIH, have been frustrated by the delays associated with the journal review process. While delays are individually understandable, when the subject matter of the finding involves something that could be immediately applicable, especially in life-threatening situations, we feel it incumbent upon ourselves to do something to make the process faster and more efficient without compromising the critical review that is needed to protect the patients and the practicing physicians and ensure that the information is valid.