President Barack Obama's 2010 budget request would give the National Institutes of Health an increase of $443 million to $31.0 billion, a 1.4% raise over 2009. That continues a trend of nearly flat budgets since 2003, just short of biomedical inflation. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius explained that because NIH received $10.4 billion in the recent Recovery Act to be spent over the next 2 years, "we didn't need additional resources." However, she said that HHS is aware that researchers funded by recovery funds could be in trouble in 2011 if NIH doesn't receive a larger increase. "We certainly need to begin working on what happens in 2011 and 2012," Sebelius said.
While most institutes and the Common Fund overseen by the NIH director's office would receive raises of around 1.1%-1.5%, President Obama has singled out cancer research for more. The field would receive a 5% bump to $6 billion, spread across all NIH institutes and centers as part of an effort to double funding over 8 years. As a result, the National Cancer Institute would receive a 3.6% increase to $5.15 billion. "It's a presidential priority," explained acting NIH Director Raynard Kington. "I don't think it's inconsistent with the broad mission of the agency in any way."
Autism research would receive $141 million, up $19 million, or 16%, helping to fulfill another Obama campaign pledge as part of an HHS-wide initiative.
For the first time, the president's budget also requests funding for the National Children's Study: $194 million. The overall $443 million boost will allow NIH to fund 9849 new and competing grants (not counting Recovery grants), up 7 grants from 2009. The success rate will remain steady at 20%.