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Invest in Health and Medical Research One Pager

Shareable document on AAU's "Invest in Health and Medical Research " campaign.

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Research supported by the National Institutes of Health enhances public health, lengthens life, and reduces illness and disability. We urge Congress to support increased NIH funding to provide sustained, predictable growth – maximizing the United States’ ability to find cures and continue leading the world in health innovation.

NIH fuels the U.S. biomedical research enterprise—cultivating world-class scientists and catalyzing new scientific fields, tools, and resources.   

Many concepts and tools central to understanding and improving health have come from foundational research. NIH not only supports these advances, but also conducts clinical and translational research that transforms discoveries into medical practice. 

The disparity between applications received and applications funded (see graph at right) highlights how insufficient funding results in potentially innovative projects being left without support. 



What’s at stake: The partnership between the NIH and our research universities is essential to developing new drugs and diagnostic tools fundamental to the health of Americans as well as our global competitiveness.  

NIH-research is vital to sustaining our extraordinary progress in human health over the past several decades. NIH funding also spurs economic growth, both by supporting jobs in research and by generating biomedical innovations that lead to growth in the biotechnology sector.

NIH research is an economic engine. In FY22, the $36.68 billion awarded to researchers in the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia supported 568,585 jobs and $96.84 billion in economic activity. Most recently, America’s investments in NIH research yielded extraordinary advances in responding to COVID-19. Strong platforms and a skilled workforce jumpstarted COVID-19 diagnostics, vaccines, and treatments. 

There is still significant work needed to address leading causes of death and disability in the United States.  

For example: 

  • 1.9 million new cancer cases will be diagnosed in the United States this year. An estimated 609,820 Americans lost their lives to cancer in 2023. Cancer will cost the United States $281 billion this year.  

  • Deaths from Alzheimer’s disease increased 145% from 2000 to 2019. In 2021, Alzheimer’s and other dementias will cost the country an estimated $355 billion. 

  • Two million Americans have Type 1 diabetes, including about 304,000 children and adolescents. Approximately 1.2 million Americans are diagnosed with a form of diabetes every year. The total cost of diagnosed diabetes in the United States in 2022 was $306.6 billion in direct medical costs. 

  • Heart disease remains the leading cause of death for men, women, and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States.  About 695,000 people in the United States died from heart disease in 2021—that’s 1 in every 5 deaths. Approximately 1 in 20 adults over the age of 20 have coronary artery disease. 

Key Facts:  

  • More than 95% of the NIH budget goes directly to research awards, programs, centers, training programs, and research and development contracts. 

  • NIH funds scientists working across the country and the world. Each year, NIH awards more than 60,000 research and training grants. These support approximately 300,000 researchers at more than 2,500 universities and organizations.  

  • NIH supported 58,951 competitive and non-competitive awards in FY 2023. This was an additional 583 extramural grants compared to 58,368 in FY 2022, a 1.0% increase. NIH issued grants to 2,743 academic universities, hospitals, small businesses, and other organizations throughout the United States and internationally.  

  • AAU supports the intent of President Biden’s proposed Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) initiative under the umbrella of the NIH. Any funds appropriated for ARPA-H should supplement, not supplant, the critical functions of NIH’s basic research led by a rigorous peer review system. 

When we invest in the NIH, we are also investing in people —physicians, scientists, entrepreneurs, researchers, and educators – helping to develop the next generation of leaders and maintain American leadership in biomedical innovation.