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Disparities Among Gastrointestinal Disorders in Research Funding From the National Institutes of Health

Published:September 01, 2017DOI:https://doi.org/10.1053/j.gastro.2017.08.051
      The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the major funder of research in gastrointestinal (GI) diseases. The National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases’ discretionary appropriation for fiscal 2016 is $1.818 billion of the overall NIH $32.31 billion.
      National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
      2016 Award funding policy.
      As such, NIH support is essential for improving our understanding of health and disease from pathologic mechanisms to clinical trials. In theory, outside of specific request for funding applications the NIH distributes grants based on “meritorious science” as judged by peer reviewers, rather than favoring specific diseases. The National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases states that it “supports clinical research, clinical trials, and epidemiology studies on GI inflammatory diseases, including, but not limited to, gluten-sensitive enteropathy, inflammatory bowel disease, and gastritis; malabsorption syndromes; diarrhea; gastric and duodenal ulcers.”

      National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). Gastrointestinal immunology, inflammation, and inflammatory diseases. Bethesda, MD: The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/research-funding/research-programs/gastrointestinal-immunology-inflammation-inflammatory-diseases. Accessed June 1, 2016.

      This statement suggests an appropriate equipoise by the National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases regarding areas most important to fund. If this were the case, it would be expected that grants awarded would be partially a function of disease prevalence as a surrogate for importance, partially related to the number of grants submitted within a disease area, and that that funding levels for different diseases would vary over time as meritorious applications arise from various groups and disciplines. Conversely, if funding levels are highly discrepant between diseases in a way that is not explained by disease prevalence and if these discrepancies are maintained over time, it would suggest an uneven playing field.
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      References

        • National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
        2016 Award funding policy.
        National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, Bethesda, MD2016
      1. National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). Gastrointestinal immunology, inflammation, and inflammatory diseases. Bethesda, MD: The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/research-funding/research-programs/gastrointestinal-immunology-inflammation-inflammatory-diseases. Accessed June 1, 2016.

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