That's what you're hearing in research labs across the country today. A collective sigh of relief after the Obama administration's increased commitment to NIH research was unveiled yesterday. The President stayed true to his word about the need for a continued investment in innovation and research. The FY 2011 federal budget contains a 3.2 percent, $1 bilion increase for the National Institutes of Health. If approved by the Congress, this would give the NIH $32 billion for the next fiscal year. The increase is the first for the NIH in more than eight years.
When word leaked out about a federal funding freeze, the fear was that the NIH would also be affected and its budget would remain stagnant. Yet Obama did send some positive signs about his priorities regarding research dollars when he talked about the need for more innovation in his State of the Union address. The budget still has to go through the congressional appropriations grinder, but signs there are encouraging. Still, the research and advocacy communities had better get their grassroots campaigns moving. In a tight fiscal year with acute fears of uncontrolled deficit spending mounting, nothing should be taken for granted. The losers in this budget will be fighting the winners for whatever scraps are on the table.