The recently authorized Omnibus Appropriations Bill for fiscal year 2021 provides $42.9 billion for NIH, an increase of $1.25 billion (or 1.5%) above fiscal year 2020. This appropriation includes $560 million for the NIH BRAIN Initiative, a $60 million increase over last year’s $500 million appropriation. We are deeply grateful for Congress’s strong and continuing support of our mission.
The spending bill includes $404 million of appropriated funds authorized in the 21st Century Cures Act. The Cures Act, signed into law in December 2016, allocates funding to NIH each year through 2026, for a total of $4.8 billion across all projects described in the Act. The BRAIN Initiative was one of four highly innovative scientific initiatives designated to receive multi-year funding through the Innovation Fund of the Cures Act, reflecting enthusiasm for the Initiative and its goals. This funding must be appropriated each year by Congress.
The $560 million appropriation for the NIH BRAIN Initiative includes $100 million in Cures Act funds. This legislation reflects strong bipartisan Congressional support for biomedical research, and will provide NIH with the resources needed to continue to work towards the goals in BRAIN’s strategic plan, which was initially outlined by the BRAIN 2025 report and recently updated and enhanced through the BRAIN 2.0 neuroscience and neuroethics reports. Importantly, this generous allocation for 2021 will accelerate the launch of two transformative projects outlined in those reports that “stand out in for their importance to human health and technical viability,” specifically: $40 million for the Human Brain Cell Atlas and $20 million for the Armamentarium for Brain Cell Access. Collectively, this funding will help accelerate BRAIN’s mission to develop and apply innovative tools and neurotechnologies, as well as to support researchers as they seek new ways to treat, cure, and ultimately prevent brain disorders.
In addition to the increased funds for the BRAIN Initiative, the Omnibus Bill:
- provides $1.25 billion, available until September 2024, to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, domestically or internationally;
- increases funding by $300 million, to a total of $3.12 billion in fiscal year 2021, for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias research;
- includes no less than $270 million for the HEAL Initiative targeted at opioid misuse and addiction, and expands the uses of these funds to include research related to stimulant misuse and addiction;
- directs NIH to require its grantees to notify it when key personnel are removed for concerns of harassment, an essential step toward addressing the findings of the 2018 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report on sexual harassment in academia.
The spending bill will fund the government until the end of the current fiscal year on September 30, 2021.
John Ngai, Ph.D. Director of the NIH BRAIN Initiative recently shared the following news: