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Director Francis Collins Discusses Sequester’s Risk to NIH Funding

Legislative Update
January 16, 2013

Today’s Politico includes an interview with National Institute of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., who announced that the looming sequester would now cut 6.4% from the NIH budget (for the National Eye Institute, NEI, that would be $45 M) since it was delayed by two months—and is awaiting resolution by Congress. The interview, which took place on Monday, January 14, was likely after the morning’s Scientific Management Review Board (SMRB) meeting at which Dr. Collins announced that he has met with 217 Members of Congress during his three year tenure, including many fiscal and social conservatives. He made those comments in the context of an initial discussion by a newly formed SMRB Working Group that is focusing on the value of biomedical research. The Working Group had a panel of three economists who spoke in “plain English” about the direct and downstream benefits of the nation’s investment in the NIH.