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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 13, 2013
CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
Executive Director
240-221-2905
jamesj@eyeresearch.org

NAEVR RELEASES FY2014 FUNDING REQUESTS TO CONGRESS: $32 BILLION FOR NIH AND $730 MILLION FOR NEI, $10 MILLION FOR PEER REVIEWED VISION TRAUMA RESEARCH

(Washington, D.C.) Today, the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) released its legislative positions regarding Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Eye Institute (NEI) in the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) appropriations bill, as well as the Peer Reviewed Vision Trauma Research Program (VTRP) in the Defense appropriations bill.

NIH Funding at $32 billion, NEI Funding at $730 million:

At a March 13 House LHHS Appropriations Subcommittee Public Witness hearing, NAEVR representative Hendrik Scholl, M.D. (Wilmer Eye Institute/Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine) urged Congress to fund NIH at $32 billion and NEI at $730 million, which reflects a 4.5 percent increase over the FY2012 funding level. This increase consists of biomedical inflation of 2.8 percent plus modest growth.

  • After nearly a decade of budgets below biomedical inflation, NIH’s inflation-adjusted funding is close to 20 percent lower than in FY2003. Additionally, the sequester reduced NIH’s budget by 5.1 percent or $1.6 billion and NEI by $36 million. This significantly limits NIH and NEI ability to sustain current research capacity and encourage promising new areas of science.

  • The United States must capitalize on previous NIH investment to drive research progress, train the next generation of scientists, create new jobs, promote economic growth, and maintain leadership in the global innovation economy.

  • This past decade, NEI has funded breakthrough research ranging from determining the genetic basis of eye disease to developing treatments that save and restore sight.

VTRP Funding at $10 Million:

NAEVR urges Congress to fund the VTRP at $10 million since it is a dedicated funding source for extramural vision research into immediate battlefield needs which is not conducted by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), elsewhere within the Department of Defense (DOD) including the Joint DOD/VA Vision Center of Excellence, or the NEI. NAEVR stresses that the VTRP is military-relevant, addresses DOD-identified research gaps, and has the potential for rapid translation into battlefield diagnostic and therapeutic applications.

The Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) and Military Service Organizations (MSOs) support VTRP funding at $10 million per the FY2014 Independent Budget recommendations, as well as in a letter to Congressional defense appropriators. A May 2012 study funded by NAEVR that used only published data from 2000-2010 yielded a total cost to the economy from military eye injury and blindness over this timeframe of $25.1 billion.

The National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) is a 501(c)4 non-profit advocacy coalition comprised of 55 professional, consumer, and industry organizations involved in eye and vision research. Visit the Web site at www.eyeresearch.org.