Late last month, Congress passed a $1.3 trillion fiscal year 2018 Consolidated Appropriations spending bill that included a $3 billion increase to funding for medical research to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Funding to the NIH has increased to $37 billion, the largest bump they have seen in years.
Since NIH is the largest funder of ALS research in the world, any increase to their budget could also mean an increase in funding for ALS research. In fiscal 2017, the NIH spent $55 million on ALS research, up from $52.2 million in fiscal 2016.
“It’s a huge win for The ALS Association and the ALS community to see such a significant NIH budget increase,” said Calaneet Balas, president and CEO of The ALS Association. “We’re confident the increased budget will enable new ALS research, which is critical to ending this devastating disease, and thank our lawmakers for their hard work to make it possible. This gives our advocate community a boost, increasing our momentum to work hard toward our appropriation goals for fiscal year 2019.”
The ALS Association and its vast network of ALS Advocates are committed to supporting increased funding for the NIH, especially for the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), the lead institute for ALS research. Increased funding for the NIH is a consistent part of the Association’s legislative priorities each year.
The ALS Association is second to the NIH for ALS funding globally, with a $18 million research budget in fiscal year 2019 to fund external grants to top ALS researchers around the world.
The ALS Association is pleased that, as part of the increase, the NIH’s BRAIN Initiative received a $140 million investment. The BRAIN Initiative is aimed at developing tools, technologies, and foundational knowledge to understand how the brain’s circuits code and store information.
The Initiative’s work includes mapping the brain’s circuits and recording and modulating brain activity using cutting-edge technologies. We believe many of the BRAIN Initiative’s research projects will add knowledge to understanding the disease pathways underlying ALS.
The ALS Association will bring together more than 500 ALS Advocates in Washington, D.C., at the annual National ALS Advocacy Conference next month to continue to advocate for increased NIH funding, along with our other important legislative priorities.
For more information about our legislative priorities for the conference and this fiscal year, click here.
The NIH has posted its Congressional Justification and materials related to the administration’s fiscal year 2019 budget request for the agency to the NIH Office of Budget website at: https://officeofbudget.od.nih.gov/br.html.
The Overview is available at: https://officeofbudget.od.nih.gov/pdfs/FY19/br/Overview.pdf.
Justifications for individual institutes and centers are available at: https://officeofbudget.od.nih.gov/insti_center_subs.html.