The Trump administration may be planning to help pay for a massive 18% cut to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by slashing payments to universities and research institutes for overhead costs, ScienceInsider has learned.
The proposed budget released by the White House yesterday, for the 2018 fiscal year that begins 1 October, contains a brief paragraph describing a $5.8 billion cut to NIH’s current $31.7 billion budget, as well as plans to reorganize the agency. The paragraph ends with this sentence: “The Budget also reduces administrative costs and rebalances Federal contributions to research funding.”
According to a source close to the Trump administration, the sentence refers to plans to attack so-called indirect costs. That is money universities receive from NIH and other agencies to cover the expenses associated with conducting federally funded research. Indirect costs include everything from paying the utility bills for a faculty member’s lab to the salaries of the staff needed to comply with federal rules on using animals in research.