publication date: Mar. 28, 2014


Sometimes a funding increase can be no increase at all.

NCI’s budget was increased by 2.8 percent for the current 2014 fiscal year, or about $134 million, restoring about 53 percent of previous cuts made by sequestration. The institute’s total budget stands at $4.9 billion.

However, this increase did not translate into an extra 2.8 percent for all of NCI’s programs. Mandatory costs also grew at the same time—salaries and benefits, building utilities and rent, and telecommunications infrastructure and security—all increased by about $45 million in total, leaving only $89 million to be spread around NCI’s research programs.

“I want to assure you that I’m not inherently pessimistic—but when you work in budget, as I do, there’s just not a lot of room for optimism these days,” said Patrick McGarey, the director of NCI’s Office of Budget and Finance. “Those increased costs have to be paid first.”

For FY2015, the budget is projected to remain essentially flat—that is, a 0.2 percent increase, or a meager $7.9 million, McGarey said at a March 12 meeting of the NCI Clinical Trials Advisory Committee.

“And $8 million doesn’t go far, I can assure you, in a $5-billion enterprise,” he said.

“It does lay out, I think very effectively, the challenges going forward,” said committee chair James Abbruzzese, chief of the division of medical oncology at Duke University Medical Center. “Despite small amounts in increased dollars, a lot of these increased dollars are used up by purposes that are not necessarily programmatic in terms of clinical research, translational research, … Continue reading 40-13 Federal Funding

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