American Association for Cancer Research

2009 Economic Recovery Act: Cancer Research Resources & Opportunities

Updated: January 6, 2010 

On February 17, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) into law, investing an unprecedented $10 billion in the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including an estimated $1.2 billion in the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The funds will be available for two years, through September 2010.

AACR will monitor the allocation of cancer research funds and keep this page updated with current news and resources to help you take advantage of grant opportunities and track the economic impact of research funded by the Recovery Act.      


The NIH has indicated that the agency will generally focus on supporting scientific activities in the following three areas:

  • Supporting meritorious R01's that have already been reviewed but not yet funded.
  • Supplementing existing grants and expanding research related to original goals.
  • Funding new NIH Challenge Grants. The NIH has designated a minimum $200 million of Recovery Act funds to fund around 200 new Challenge Grants. The grants will support research on topic areas that address "specific scientific and health research challenges in biomedical and behavioral research that would benefit from significant 2-year jumpstart funds." Each NIH Institute, Center, and Office has selected specific topics within the broad Challenge Grant areas related to its mission.

Recovery Act information from key NIH institutes, centers & offices:   









After weeks of intense negotiation, Congress sent a final economic stimulus plan, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), to President Obama following approval in the House by a vote of 246-183 and in the Senate by a vote of 60-38. The $787 billion package is one of the largest ever approved by the body. It was signed into law on February 17 during a ceremony at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science in Denver, Colo.

The new law invests $10 billion in the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including an estimated $1.2 billion allocated to the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Of that amount, $8.5 billion is allocated specifically to NIH research and $1.5 billion to extramural facility improvements. The funds will be available for two years, through September 2010.

Breakdown of NIH Recovery Act Funds (


  • $8.2 billion: scientific research priorities
    • $7.4 billion transferred to the Institutes and Centers and Common Fund (CF), based on a percentage-based formula
    • $800 million to the Office of the Director (OD) (not including CF)
      (For example, support for Challenge Grants), a program designed to focus on health and science problems where progress can be expected in two years.
    • To support additional scientific research-related activities that also align with the overall purposes of the Act
  • $1 billion: Extramural Construction, Repairs, and Alterations
    • Allocated to the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) in support of all NIH funded research institutions
  • $300 million: Shared Instrumentation and other capital equipment
    • Allocated to NCRR to support all NIH activities
  • $500 million: NIH buildings and facilities
    • To fund high priority repair, construction and improvement projects on NIH campuses that also align with the overall purpose of the Act
  • $400 million: Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER)