AAI Public Affairs

The AAI public affairs program advocates on behalf of AAI members by identifying critically important issues in immunology and biomedical research, providing recommendations to relevant federal officials [including those at the National Institutes of Health (NIH)], and urging Congress and the Administration to increase funding for NIH and other key agencies/programs.

  • President Biden Releases His Budget Request for FY 2024
    On March 9, President Joe Biden unveiled his FY 2024 budget request, a highly detailed blueprint for federal spending that reflects his funding recommendations. While Congress may consider a president’s recommendations, Congress itself ultimately decides all discretionary funding decisions through the annual appropriations bills. Read more »
  • AAI Hosts 12th Annual PPFP Capitol Hill Day
    The nine 2022-23 AAI Public Policy Fellows Program (PPFP) participants, together with CPA Chair Peter Jensen and Advocacy Programs Subcommittee Chair Gretchen Diehl, Ph.D., traveled to Washington, D.C., for a two-day Capitol Hill Day program last month. On March 21, the group convened for a dinner featuring remarks by Acting NIAID Director Hugh Auchincloss, M.D., DFAAI (AAI ’83), who has spoken at this event every year since the program’s inception. Read more »
  • AAI Responds to Draft NIH Public Access Plan
    In August 2022, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released a memo entitled, “Ensuring Free, Immediate, and Equitable Access to Federally Funded Research,” instructing federal agencies that fund scientific research to update their public access policies no later than Dec 31, 2025, “to make publications and their supporting data resulting from federally funded research publicly accessible without an embargo on their free and public release.” Read more »
  • NIH-Wide Strategic Plan for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Released
    NIH recently released its Strategic Plan for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) for fiscal years (FY) 2023-2027. As further explained in an accompanying Open Mike blog post, the Strategic Plan is organized around three key objectives... Read more »
  • New Debt Ceiling Law Significantly Restricts Federal Spending for Nondefense Programs
    On June 3, President Joe Biden signed into law the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 (FRA), a bipartisan measure that, among other things, suspends the federal debt limit, places caps on discretionary spending, and rescinds some unspent COVID-19 funds. The new law is the product of long negotiations between Democrats and Republicans, mostly notably between President Biden and Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA, 20th). Read more »

AAI Public Affairs Activities

AAI Issues Statement Expressing Concern about Large Cuts to Biomedical Research in House Spending Bill

AAI Committee on Public Affairs Chair Gretchen Diehl, Ph.D., recently issued a statement articulating some of AAI’s concerns with the fiscal year (FY) 2024 appropriations bill approved by the House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) Appropriations Subcommittee on July 14. The bill would cut funding for the National Institutes of Health by $3.8 billion, including a $1.5 billion cut to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. It also cuts the budget of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) by $1 billion. The statement explains AAI’s deep disappointment with these cuts and “urges bipartisan action in Congress to prioritize investment in NIH’s lifesaving scientific research.”

The Senate Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee is expected to consider its version of the FY 2024 Labor-HHS bill in late July.

AAI submits comments to NIAID in response to its Request for Information on DEIA across NIAID extramural activities

AAI submitted comments to NIAID in late May in response to its Request for Information (RFI): “Seeking Stakeholder Input on Enhancing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Across NIAID Extramural Activities.” In the comments, AAI urges NIAID to conduct research across diverse patient profiles for all illnesses, appreciate the value of community-based research, and evaluate the strengths in DEIA of an individual or institution in funding decisions. AAI also encourages NIAID to consider ways to assess and enhance success rates of historically excluded groups and reinforces the need to foster meaningful mentorship relationships.

AAI issues statement on President Biden’s Impending Nomination of Dr. Monica Bertagnolli to be the next NIH Director

On May 16, AAI President Mark M. Davis, Ph.D., issued a statement “enthusiastically support[ing]” the impending nomination of Monica Bertagnolli, M.D., to be the next director of the National Institutes of Health.

The role of NIH Director requires Senate confirmation. In the interim, Dr. Lawrence Tabak will continue to perform the duties of the NIH Director, a role he has held since December 2021.

AAI Submits Comments to NIH in Response to its Request for Information on Re-envisioning Postdoctoral Training

AAI submitted comments to NIH in April in response to its Request for Information (RFI): “Re-envisioning U.S. Postdoctoral Research Training and Career Progression within the Biomedical Research Enterprise.” The AAI comments outline some of the current challenges and barriers that postdocs are facing that need to be addressed, including insufficient pay, lack of adequate benefits and accommodation of family responsibilities, and uncertainty about future career prospects. Among other things, AAI encourages NIH to develop and enhance mentoring opportunities, expand and develop programs to help bridge postdocs to their desired careers, and to work with other federal agencies to assist with some of the challenges faced by international scientists.

AAI Submits Testimony to House Subcommittee Requesting Increased NIH Funding

AAI recently submitted written testimony to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, recommending that the subcommittee provide at least $51 billion for the NIH base budget for fiscal year 2024. The testimony, which was submitted by AAI Committee on Public Affairs Chair Peter Jensen, M.D., also encourages appropriators to provide substantial funding to the relatively new Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), but cautions that any funding provided to ARPA-H should supplement the NIH base budget which supports core NIH operations, including its vital basic research portfolio.

AAI Submits Comments to NIH in Response to its Proposed Revised Peer Review Framework

AAI submitted comments to NIH in early March in response to its Request for Information (RFI) on a Proposed Simplified Review Framework for NIH Research Project Grant Applications. In the comments, AAI expresses general support for the new framework, including its intention to “refocus reviewers’ attention on evaluating the scientific merit of grant applications.” The AAI comments also encourage NIH to rollout the changes slowly and thoughtfully to ensure the research community is fully prepared, and to develop specific metrics to measure the success of these changes.

Need Help Complying with the New NIH Data Management and Sharing (DMS) Policy? AAI Has Resources That Can Help

NIH has announced the implementation of its Data Management and Sharing (DMS) Policy, which requires that all applications submitted on or after January 25, 2023, include a DMS plan. AAI has developed two new resources to help immunologists draft DMS plans that comply with this new policy.

AAI Resources and Recommendations
for the NIH Data Management and Sharing Policy

AAI Guide to Developing Your NIH Data
Management and Sharing Plan

These resources were developed by the AAI Data Management and Sharing Working Group, established by the AAI Committee on Public Affairs. Please contact AAI Science Policy Analyst Emily Kansler, Ph.D., if you have any questions.

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