Will Obama’s $5 Billion Pledge to NIH Boost Manufacturing and Construction Too?


Yesterday Obama pledged $5 billion toward biomedical research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) over the next two years. Ostensibly, this is in addition to the $10.4 billion that was allocated to NIH when the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was passed back in February. Obama called the $5 billion award the “largest boost to biomedical research in recent history,” noting that the increased funds would create thousands of jobs in the research, manufacturing and construction sectors.

The NIH has already awarded close to 13,000 grants this year, with each U.S. territory receiving at least one. Not surprisingly, New York, California, and Massachusetts were the top grant recipients, but, in his speech following Obama’s announcement, NIH Director Francis Collins made a point of noting that more than 1,800 of this year’s grant awardees had not received NIH funding before. And while a portion of the NIH money will likely go to construction or modernizing research facilities, it’s not clear whether it’s enough to truly boost the economies in states–such as Nebraska and Wisconsin–that have been hit hard by the recent manufacturing and construction slumps.

[Image: model of a new research facility in Buffalo, New York; Credit: City of Buffalo]EW