NIH Appropriations

NIH funding is vital to the careers of many AAI members and the biomedical research enterprise as a whole.

The $42.9 billion NIH budget for fiscal year (FY) 2021 funds more than 300,000 extramural scientists at 2,500 universities, medical schools, and research institutions. Approximately 80% of the NIH budget is awarded to extramural scientists; about 10% supports the work of NIH's nearly 6,000 intramural scientists. (see:

NIH funding has a huge impact on the advancement of biomedical research and on the economy (local, state, national, and international).


In December 2020, the House and Senate approved a $1.4 trillion omnibus appropriations bill to fund federal government departments and agencies through fiscal year (FY) 2021.  After expressing opposition to key parts of the legislation, President Donald Trump signed the bill into law on December 27.

Through this law, NIH received a total of $2.5 billion in new funding, evenly split between regular FY 2021 appropriations and emergency COVID-19 relief.  Although significantly less than the amount requested by AAI and many other organizations in the biomedical research community, the NIH budget for regular activities increased by $1.25 billion (3%) to $42.9 billion and includes increases of at least 1.5% for all NIH Institutes and Centers.   

A portion of the FY 2021 non-emergency NIH funding is targeted to specific priorities, including:

  • $300 million (total of $3.12 billion) for the Alzheimer’s disease research
  • $37.5 million (total of $250 million) to improve NCI paylines and success rates
  • $20 million (total of $220 million) to develop a universal influenza vaccine
  • $10 million (total of $396.6 million) for Institutional Development Awards
  • $10 million for a new premature birth initiative “for research aimed at enhancing the survival and healthy development of preterm infants”

An accompanying Joint Explanatory Statement (see pages 44-72) provides more detail on the NIH provisions.  One notable section directs NIH to commission a study by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) “to explore the current and future use of nonhuman primates in research.”  The study must look at current and potential future alternatives to nonhuman primate research and explain how these alternatives could reduce NIH’s reliance on these models in the future.

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