NIA Director Richard J. Hodes discusses NIA's budget increase of $130 million for FY 2014.
Welcome to this issue of Spotlight on Aging Research – SOAR, our periodic update on NIA policies, programs, and events. This issue features a conversation with Kathie Reed, director of our Office of Planning, Analysis, and Evaluation, along with articles on research on pain in older people and recruiting older adults for clinical trials, summaries of recent NIA-funded research, and happenings around NIA.
In late January, we received our budget for fiscal year 2014, which is $130 million more than last year. NIA is pleased to have this 12.5 percent increase, which is a larger percentage increase than that of the overall increase for NIH funding. It means there will be more funding for aging research, including a focus on Alzheimer’s disease.
The new funding in aging allows us a bit more flexibility, one immediate benefit being the ability to continue to support our biological resources that so many of you rely on for your research.
The President and the Congress have expressed an interest in applying additional funds to Alzheimer’s research, and this new budget allows us to do so. About $100 million will be directed toward that effort. We appreciate that the budget legislation recognized the importance of the disease and of our intensified efforts to fight it. The additional money will support both new and competing research awards, as well as continued funding of ongoing high-priority research.
This year’s appropriation has helped bring us some way back from the drastic cuts of last year’s sequestration. The 5.5 percent cuts that were made to noncompeting renewal grants will not have to be made in FY 2014, but the FY 2013 cuts will not be restored. We have been able to maintain our paylines at the same levels as last year.
Despite the welcome and generous increases this year, it is still sobering to note that we remain far from recovering the buying power that we had several years ago. Stagnant budgets affected by inflation have eroded our ability to fund meritorious research by 18 percent over the past decade.
As we adjust to this new reality of constrained budgets and lower paylines, we must maintain our focus on the needs of the older population we serve. As the number of older people continues to grow—in this country and around the world—we will continue to look for the ways in which research can help us all live longer and healthier lives.
Richard J. Hodes, M.D.
National Institute on Aging