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.

PUBLIC AFFAIRS NEWS
  • Short-Term Funding Bills Enacted to Avert Shutdown
    On November 16, President Biden signed a continuing resolution (CR) into law, averting a possible federal government shutdown. The CR maintains funding at fiscal year (FY) 2023 levels. Unlike most CRs, however, it is two-tiered, extending funding appropriated by four of the annual appropriations bills through January 19, 2024, and by the other eight annual appropriations bills through February 2, 2024. Read more »
  • AAI Hosts Webinar on Funding Opportunities at ARPA-H - Free Recording Available Now
    On November 9, AAI hosted a webinar on the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) entitled, “ARPA-H: Funding Opportunities for Immunologists.” The event was chaired and moderated by CPA member Cherié Butts, Ph.D. (AAI ’01), and featured remarks by two distinguished speakers. Read more »
  • AAI Participates in Rally for Medical Research Capitol Hill Day
    AAI participated in the 11th annual Rally for Medical Research Capitol Hill Day (“Rally Hill Day”) in September. Rally Hill Day brings together a wide range of stakeholders including academic researchers, those working in industry, and patients, to advocate for the shared goal of increasing NIH funding. Read more »
  • Dr. Bertagnolli Confirmed as New NIH Director
    Monica Bertagnolli, M.D., was sworn in as the 17th director of NIH on November 9. Dr. Bertagnolli is the first surgeon and second woman to serve in the role. She replaces Lawrence Tabak, D.D.S., Ph.D., who had temporarily led the agency since the departure of Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., in December 2021. Read more »
  • Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo Begins Tenure as NIAID Director
    In late September, Jeanne Marrazzo, M.D., M.P.H., officially stepped into the role of Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), taking over for Acting Director Hugh Auchincloss, M.D., DFAAI (AAI ’83). AAI President Akiko Iwasaki, Ph.D., sent Dr. Marrazzo a congratulatory letter, on behalf of AAI, offering AAI’s assistance in advancing NIAID priorities... Read more »
  • Dr. Kimryn Rathmell Appointed as NCI Director
    On December 18, W. Kimryn Rathmell, M.D., Ph.D. (AAI ’23), began her tenure as the 17th Director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) after being appointed by President Biden in November. The NCI Director is appointed by the President and does not require confirmation by the U.S. Senate. Read more »
  • NIH Announces Upcoming Changes to Peer Review
    NIH recently announced changes that it is implementing to simplify the peer review process. The impetus for these changes, which will take effect for grant applications received on or after January 25, 2025, is a desire to put more weight on the quality of the science while deemphasizing the reputation of institutions and investigators. Read more »

AAI Public Affairs Activities

AAI Responds to Request for Information from NIAID on Its Strategic Plan

AAI recently submitted comments to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in response to its Request for Information (RFI): “Inviting Comments and Suggestions on NIAID’s Strategic Plan.” NIAID sought feedback on its five proposed research priorities and additional cross-cutting themes. AAI provided general feedback as well as specific comments regarding each outlined research priority.

In its comments, AAI strongly emphasizes the importance of funding a robust portfolio of foundational and discovery-based research and of supporting collaboration, especially among NIH Institutes and Centers. AAI also urges NIAID to emphasize the significance of biomedical research workforce development in its strategic plan, with a focus on supporting and retaining early-career talent. Given that the NIAID R01 payline has remained flat or decreased annually since 2019, despite a steady increase of the NIH budget (until recently), AAI suggests that NIAID undertake a broad evaluation of its portfolio to determine whether any large programs could be scaled back to allow for additional funding investigator-initiated research. In addition, AAI offers several specific recommendations for each proposed research priority.

Read the Response Here


AAI Submits Written Congressional Testimony Urging Increased Funding for Biomedical Research

AAI Committee on Public Affairs Chair Gretchen Diehl, Ph.D., recently submitted written congressional testimony, on behalf of AAI, to both the House and Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittees. In its testimony, AAI recommends an FY 2025 funding level of $51.3 billion (an increase of $4.2 billion) for the National Institutes of Health and an FY 2025 funding level of $1.7 billion for the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (an increase of $200 million).

Read the full testimony submitted to the Senate


AAI Announces 2024−2025 Public Policy Fellows

AAI is pleased to announce the newest class of Public Policy Fellows. These early career researchers will spend one year learning how to effectively advocate for funding and policies that impact the biomedical research enterprise. The program culminates in a Capitol Hill Day event in March 2025.

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