National Institutes of Health

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the nation’s leading medical and behavioral research agency. The people of NIH are making important discoveries that are improving health, saving lives, reducing the burdens of illness and disability and ultimately increasing life expectancy of people in the United States.

The goals the agency are to:

1. Encourage creative discoveries, innovative research strategies, and their follow through in order to improve health

2. Develop, maintain, and renew resources to assure that people of the United States are able to prevent diseases

3. Make new discoveries in medical science and associated fields in order to contribute to the economy of the United States and ensure a high return on the public investment to the research they are doing

4. Achieve these goals while maintaining a high level of social integrity, social responsibility and public accountability.

The NIH conducts research in a number of categories: human diseases, human growth and development, biological effects of environmental contaminants, mental, addictive, and physical disorders, and the exchange of information in medicine and health.

The NIH is the largest source of funding for medical research in the world. The NIH invests over $30.9 billion per year in medical research. More than 80% of this $30.9 billion funds the 50,000 competitive grants awarded annually.

The NIH prides itself on being, “a powerful economic engine.” In 2011, NIH-funded research supported about 432,000 jobs nationwide. Also, it is estimated that every $1 the NIH spends in funding generates $2.21 in local economic growth.

The list of discoveries made by NIH-supported investigators is extensive. NIH supported investigators have made discoveries in deciphering the genetic code. They have disproved misconceptions about morbidity and dementia being a normal part of the aging process. They have lowered the number of deaths that occur from heart attack and stroke. They have even cured certain forms of cancer.

Over eighty Nobel Prizes have been awarded for research supported by NIH.