UO leaders oppose proposed National Institutes of Health budget cuts and research indirect cost caps

UO leaders have joined other AAU and APLU member leaders in expressing opposition to the Trump Administration’s request to Congress to cut the National Institutes of Health (NIH) FY18 budget and impose caps for research cost reimbursements on NIH grants. On June 15 President Mike Schill and Vice President for Research and Innovation David Conover sent a letter to the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which includes NIH, and the White House Office of Management & Budget (OMB), which sets the budget direction. Leaders expressed concern that the proposal disrupts the historic partnership between the federal government and universities to promote innovation and discovery through a shared approach to research investment.

The Administration proposal aims to cut the NIH budget by 21% for FY18. It also imposes a cap of ten percent for facilities and administrative (F&A) research costs reimbursements on NIH grants. The letter states that “reducing significantly the NIH budget and capping F&A reimbursements would drastically reduce the amount of research the University of Oregon could conduct on behalf of the federal government to achieve key national goals to improve the health and welfare of the American people, grow the economy, and enhance national security.”

Federal research funding from the HHS made up 34% of the UO’s sponsored research funding in FY16. UO was awarded a total of $98.6 million in direct and flow-through federal research funding from HHS and other federal agency sources. Congressional action is required for the Administration’s request to be implemented.