NIH Advocates Fret over 'Indirect Cost' Cuts

Monday, June 12, 2017
POLITICO Pro

With the bipartisan love for NIH on the Hill, appropriators are expected to largely ignore the White House's proposal to slash 18 percent of the agency's budget. But that doesn't mean NIH gets off scot-free. Advocates are raising concerns about the potential for the White House to order NIH to cut spending on "indirect costs," which support research-associated funding for things like laboratory space and staff to handle certain paperwork requirements. Those indirect costs add up to about 30 percent of total NIH grant spending.

Such a move would draw fierce opposition from universities and the broader research community. Some research advocates are hopeful that the administration won't go there. "I think at the end of the day the administration will rethink this proposal because ultimately I believe Donald Trump supports medical research and wants to accelerate it," said Ellie Dehoney, vice president of policy and advocacy at Research!America. "I'm hopeful this proposal is not going to have legs.

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