National Institutes of Health
National Institutes of Health logo
Aerial photo of the NIH Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center, Bethesda, Maryland
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The National Institutes of Health (NIH) (
As of 2013, the IRP had 1,200
The NIH comprises
In 2019, the NIH was ranked #2 in the world for biomedical sciences by the Nature Index, which measured the largest contributors to papers published in a subset of leading journals from 2015-2018.
NIH's roots extend back to the
In 1887, a laboratory for the study of bacteria, the Hygienic Laboratory, was established at the Marine Hospital in New York. In the early 1900s, Congress began appropriating funds for the Marine Hospital Service. By 1922, this organization changed its name to Public Health Services and established a Special Cancer Investigations laboratory at
In the 1960s, virologist and cancer researcher
In 1967, the Division of Regional Medical Programs was created to administer grants for research for heart disease, cancer, and strokes. That same year, the NIH director lobbied the White House for increased federal funding in order to increase research and the speed with which health benefits could be brought to the people. An advisory committee was formed to oversee further development of the NIH and its research programs. By 1971 cancer research was in full force and President Nixon signed the
Funding for the NIH has often been a source of contention in Congress, serving as a proxy for the political currents of the time. In 1992, the NIH encompassed nearly 1 percent of the federal government's operating budget and controlled more than 50 percent of all funding for health research, and 85 percent of all funding for health studies in universities. While government funding for research in other disciplines has been increasing at a rate similar to inflation since the 1970s, research funding for the NIH nearly tripled through the 1990s and early 2000s, but has remained relatively stagnant since then.