Economic stimulus funds have supported innovative cancer research across the nation
The Obama administration commemorated the one-year anniversary of the signing of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) on Feb. 17 by highlighting its success at saving or creating as many as two million jobs. The landmark legislation, through an unprecedented investment in biomedical research, has also yielded dramatic opportunities and greatly expanded the nation’s research capacity.
The $862 billion economic stimulus act invested more than $10 billion in the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including an estimated $1.2 billion allocated to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to support biomedical research across the country. The unprecedented influx of funds presented a welcome challenge for the NIH, which had operated with an essentially flat research budget since 2002.
In a report issued by Vice President Biden, the Recovery Act is regarded as a success in its first year and is expected to continue to have an impact in 2010 and beyond. Describing the status of signature projects, it finds that approximately half of the $10 billion in NIH Recovery Funds have been dedicated to specific projects although only $1 billion has so far been distributed. To date, the Recovery Act has supported 13,680 research projects at universities and research institutions in all 50 states.
The NCI, according to its website, has awarded a total of $847 million to support research across the country; $522 million of that total will support investigator-initiated research proposals and $318 million will go toward contract awards for specific goods and services that support NCI's research activities.
In the recently released annual plan and budget proposal for FY2011, "The Nation's Investment in Cancer Research,” the NCI highlights the remarkable new opportunities that have been made possible as a result of the recovery act and concludes that NCI will need $1.1 billion in additional funding next fiscal year to accelerate progress and fully capitalize upon the projects that were initiated over the past year.
In the future, the cancer research community will face the challenge of highlighting both the public health and economic impacts of ARRA-funded projects to help ensure cancer researchers have sustained resources that will help capitalize on the ARRA investment in the long term.
Recovery Act Resources:
Read More from the March 2010 Edition of the AACR Cancer Policy Monitor: