publication date: Mar. 7, 2014


NCI’s Intramural Spending is 17 Percent, Higher than 11.1 Percent NIH-Wide Level

By Paul Goldberg

NIH has launched a systematic examination of its intramural program, which accounts for 11.1 percent of its $30 billion budget.

The program was last examined in 1993, pursuant to a mandate from the House Appropriations Committee.

That examination was written by a panel co-chaired by Paul Marks, then president of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Gail Cassell, then chair of the University of Alabama Department Microbiology.

The Marks-Cassell report recommended uniform, rigorous reviews of intramural scientists and tying promotions and resources to scientific merit. Just as importantly, the report called for consultation with extramural researchers in setting the parameters for the NIH intramural program.

“In the context of these recommendations, a centralized decision-making process governing the total NIH extramural/intramural allocation should ensure that the total intramural research program budget for institutes, centers, and divisions does not exceed the current rate of 11.3 percent of the total NIH budget,” the Marks-Cassell report recommends.

The intramural program accounted for about 11 percent of the NIH budget in 1994, when the Marks-Cassell report was mandated. As director of the NIH between 1993 and 1999, Harold Varmus spearheaded implementation of the report.

The level of intramural spending at NIH depends on how you calculate it, and materials published by NIH can be confusing. If you include the 15,000 people who manage extramural grants, intramural spending accounts for 19 percent of the current NIH budget.

However, with these employees excluded, intramural spending was at … Continue reading 40-10 Twenty Years Later

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