Fiscal year 2014 began with NIA staff—like many federal government workers—banned from our offices because the government was shut down. During the seemingly endless continuing funding resolutions that followed, we guessed and feared about the size of our budget for the year, establishing a very conservative payline during the long wait, and thereby causing great consternation among some in the research community. Then, the financial outlook—but not the weather—changed suddenly.
Optimism and pessimism compete with each other as we contemplate the future for research and research funding. The prospects for important breakthroughs in NIA’s primary areas of medical research—aging and Alzheimer’s disease—have never been brighter. We receive thousands of applications each year, many deemed exceptionally worthy after peer review. On the other hand, we at the NIA and across the NIH are constrained by a budget that, in real terms, is shrinking dramatically.
We just wrapped up the fiscal year. The quick summary? We scraped through. For research project grants like R01s, we held our payline (or funding line) to the same level as the prior two years. This is what we promised in the funding policy back in May, and I’m really happy to report that we kept that commitment.