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Boost in NIH Funding is a Win for San Diego


Aired 4/19/09

One of the benefits for San Diego, in the federal stimulus package, is a bump in spending for the National Institutes of Health. KPBS reporter Tom Fudge explains.

The National Institutes of Health have an annual budget of nearly 30 billion dollars. And the economic stimulus package, signed by President Obama, will add five billion a year, over the next two years, to that budget. That's good news for San Diego's research institutions and biotech companies. San Diego Congresswoman Susan Davis says local scientists rely heavily on NIH funding.

DAVIS: There are many individuals, scientists here in San Diego that have been waiting for some time for some of this money to flow.

San Diego is indeed a huge recipient of NIH grant funding. In 2007, for instance, UCSD and Scripps Research Institution, alone, shared more than half a billion dollars in NIH funding. That doesn't include many other local institutions that receive tens of millions of dollars each year from the National Institutes of Health.

Joe Panetta is CEO of the organization Biocomm, which lobbies for life science companies in Southern California. He says he hopes the boost in NIH funding will not end with the stimulus package.

PANETTA: We need to see consistent increases in the NIH budget. So we'll be going to Washington again, next week.

Panetta says he wants to remind lawmakers that there is a thriving life science industry in Southern California. And that more money will lead to more innovations in medicine. Tom Fudge, KPBS News.


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