National Institutes of Health IDeA Program

FY16 EnactedFY17 EnactedFY18 EnactedFY19 Budget RequestFY19 Coalition GoalFY19 HouseFY19 Senate

OBJECTIVE: Continue to support increased funding for the NIH IDeA program in FY2018 and propose that the IDeA budget be at least 1% of total NIH funding.


  • The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Institutional Development Award (IDeA) program increases our nation’s biomedical research capability by improving research in states that have historically been less successful in obtaining biomedical research funds.  IDeA funds only merit-based, peer-reviewed research that meets NIH research objectives in the 23 IDeA states and Puerto Rico.
  • NIH IDeA is comprised of these key initiatives:  
    • Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE);
    • IDEA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE); and,
    • IDeA Clinical and Translational Program Awards (IDeA-CTR).
  • The COBRE program increases the number of well-trained investigators in IDeA states by expanding research facilities, equipping laboratories with the latest research equipment, providing mentoring for promising investigators, and developing research faculty through support of a targeted multi-disciplinary center, led by an established, senior investigator with expertise in the research focus area of the center. 
  • INBRE increases the pipeline of outstanding students and enhances the quality of science faculty in the IDeA states by research intensive networking at undergraduate institutions.  The INBRE program supports research infrastructure and mentoring of young investigators, and prepares students for graduate and professional schools as well as careers in the biomedical sciences at participating institutions. 
  • The IDeA-CTR program encourages applications from IDeA states to develop infrastructure for clinical and translational research.


  • Despite the small portion of NIH funding, IDeA has been highly successful in increasing the competitiveness of researchers and research and academic institutions in IDeA states. Measures of success include: $1.415 billion in NIH funding awarded to IDeA state investigators; breakthroughs in post-traumatic stress disorder, asthma, stroke, dementia, multiple sclerosis, cancer, and many other diseases that affect human health.
  • Roughly 20 percent of the Nation’s population live in EPSCoR/IDeA states, yet in FY 1999, the year before COBRE grants were initiated, the 23 IDeA states and Puerto Rico received a total of $596 million in NIH funding. Today, these these entities received more than $1.415 billion, a 2.4-fold increase. Citizens from all states should have the opportunity to benefit from the latest innovations in biomedical research and health care. 


  • The IDeA program allows more states to participate in NIH’s biomedical research enterprise, enhances research capacity and competitiveness by strengthening the biomedical research infrastructure in the IDeA states, mentors scientists and students, and builds a skilled biomedical workforce capable of meeting global challenges.
  • The IDeA program enables more researchers from the IDeA states to be competitive for mainstream NIH funding such as R01 grants and ensures that more students pursue careers in biomedical research, in medical fields or other health related professions.   

FY19 NIH Research Funding Highlights

  • The  Senate Appropriations Committee-approved  version  of  the  Labor-HHS-Education  bill  would  provide  NIH  with  a $2 billion increase over FY2018 funding levels and $4 billion more than the budget request for a total of $39 billion. The HAC has recommended a funding level of $38.3 billion.
  • The  HAC  approved  $365.6  million  for  the  IDeA  program  in  FY2019,  an  increase  of  about $15 million over current year funding. The SAC included $361.8 million and report language addressing the following:
    Directing NCI to coordinate with NIGMS to help IDeA States that do not currently have NCORP or NCTN awards build capacity in these regions to conduct cancer clinical trials
    Supporting efforts to update IDeA eligibility based on the median NIH funding level

Other highlights within the NIH budget include:

  • Both committees recommended about $2.3 billion, a $401 million increase, for Alzheimer’s research
  • Both committees recommended $429 million, a $29 million increase, for the BRIAN Initiative •  The HAC provided $437 million, a $147 million increase, for the All of Us research initiative, the SAC provided $376 million
  • The HAC provided $130 million, an increase of $30 million, for a universal influenza vaccine, the SAC provided $120 million
  • The  HAC  supported  $550  million,  an  increase  of  $37  million,  for  research  on  Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria, the SAC provided $528 million
  • Both  chambers  provided  $12.6  million  for  the  Gabriella  Miller  “Kids  First”  pediatric  cancer initiative
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