NIH Trims Grants in Wake of Budget Cuts

U.S. biomedical researchers will need to tighten their belts as a result of the 1% drop in the National Institutes of Health's (NIH's) 2011 budget that became law 2 weeks ago.

A notice yesterday from NIH explains that, as a result of the "nearly 1 percent" decrease from what NIH received in 2010, the agency will cut 1% from ongoing grants compared with the 2010 level. Some researchers will face even steeper cuts: The National Cancer Institute plans to trim current grants by 3%.

According to previous notices, recent budget increases of 1% to 3% allowed NIH to grow grants by a comparable amount. The last cut (2.9%) was in 2007. And NIH anticipates raising the average size of its grants by 2% if Congress approves the president's budget request for 2012.

As for new and competing grants, NIH expects to make 9050 awards, compared with 9386 in 2010 according to NIH's 2012 budget request.

The news is better for postdocs and graduate students supported by NIH's Kirschstein National Research Service Awards. Their stipends are going up 2% this year.