BETHESDA, MdThe National Cancer Institute (NCI) plans to
increase both the number of research grants it awards in fiscal year
2000 and the size of the average grant, but it also expects to fund a
smaller percentage of grant requests because of the increasing number
of proposals it is receiving.
NCI director Richard D. Klausner, MD, described the Institutes
budget situation to the National Cancer Advisory Board shortly after
Congress passed and President Clinton signed the appropriations bill
that included the budget for the US Department of Health and Human Services.
NCIs Share: $3.332 Billion Congress provided the National
Institutes of Health with $17.914 billion, an increase of 14.7% over
FY 1999. NCIs share came to $3.332 billion, an increase of
14.8% and a sum significantly above the $3.163 billion sought by the
President in the budget proposal he sent to Capitol Hill a year ago.
However, in a fiscal slight of hand aimed at protecting
Social Security funds, Congress ordered NIH not to obligate $3
billion of its current budget until the final days of FY 2000, which
ends Sept. 30. NCI must delay obligating $499 million in funds
These are obligations the Institute cannot make until September
29, and we have between September 29 and September 30 to obligate the
sum, Dr. Klausner said. We are comfortable that we can do
this and not delay research.
NCI plans to use a split funding approach to reduce the negative
effects of the obligation delay on research projects. Multiyear
grants and contracts will be partially funded on their renewal data
during the year, with a second award made on Sept. 29. The Institute
may also delay awarding new grants and contracts during September
until Sept. 29.
Delaying obligations will create additional administrative burdens,
but we are prepared for that, and it will have minimal impact
on the critical issue of whether research is delayed, Dr.
The Institute expects to award 1,300 competing research grants this
year, up from about 1,050 in FY 1998. This will raise the total
number of grants funded by NCI to approximately 4,800. The average
grant will increase 10% in average cost of the grant.
We continue to see the growth of investigator initiated
research, Dr. Klausner said. Applications have gone up
over the last 2 fiscal years by almost 37%. As a result,
although NCI will increase the number of new grants and their average
size, the cut-off point will be the top 22% of proposals rated worthy
of funding, as compared to the top 24% last fiscal year.
Within NCI, the Division of Cancer Therapeutics and Diagnosis will
receive an increase of 19%, and the Division of Cancer Control and
Populations Science will get a 22% increase. Other increases include
18% for the Division of Cancer Prevention and 15% for the Division of
The NCI cancer centers program will increase by $20 to $22 million,
or 12% to 15%. And the intramural research budget will be increased
by 6.6%, which represents another decrease as a percentage of the
total NCI budget. This follows an NCI decision several years ago to
reduce in-house research in relation to funding for extramural