NCI Budget and Appropriations
NCI receives its budget from the United States Congress as part of the federal budget process through appropriations for the Department of Health and Human Services and NIH. The Office of Budget and Finance supports the NCI director and senior NCI staff on budget-related activities.
Current Fiscal Year (FY 2020) Budget
The FY 2020 Department of Health and Human Services Appropriations Act and the 21st Century Cures Act allocate $6.44 billion to NCI, a $297 million net increase over the FY 2019 enacted regular and Cancer Moonshot appropriations.
Upcoming and Recent Budgets
Each fiscal year, NCI prepares three budget-related publications.
- Annual Plan and Budget Proposal: The NCI Annual Plan and Budget Proposal (also known as the Professional Judgment Budget) outlines the optimum funding needed to make the most rapid progress against cancer. It is prepared two years in advance of the fiscal year it outlines.
- Congressional Justification: The NCI Congressional Justification document outlines NCI’s mission, goals, and objectives for the coming fiscal year and provides comparative data and analysis for the previous, current, and proposed budgets.
- Budget Fact Book: The NCI Budget Fact Book provides a summary of the distribution of the previous fiscal year's budget among the various research programs and funding mechanisms. Certain NCI funding policies related to research grant awards are also provided.
Budget Allocation and Spending
To achieve its research goals, each year NCI issues grants to support investigator-initiated research, to conduct clinical trials, and to support initiatives that address health care disparities. NCI also funds cross-cutting initiatives such as cancer centers and funds programs to develop a strong workforce of cancer researchers. NCI conducts intramural research, operates research facilities at the NCI-Frederick campus, and provides essential management and support for its cancer research activities.
In the grant-making process, NCI does not use predetermined targets for a specific disease area or research category. Rather, the institute relies heavily on scientific peer review, in which highly trained outside scientists review research proposals and judge them on factors such as scientific merit, potential impact, and likelihood of success.
Research proposals are also further evaluated by NCI leadership to consider additional factors, such as public health significance, scientific novelty, and overall representation of the research topic within the NCI portfolio. In some cases, the National Cancer Advisory Board also reviews the NCI research funding recommendations.
This intensive approach ensures that NCI supports the best science aligned with its mission.
Details about NCI’s research portfolio and grants that NCI is funding in the current fiscal year are available through several sources:
- The NIH RePORT Expenditures and Results (RePORTER) website provides data about specific intramural and extramural research projects supported by NCI and other NIH Institutes and Centers in the current fiscal year as well as previous years. The website is updated weekly.
- NCI’s Funded Research Portfolio (NFRP) website contains information about research grants, contract awards, and intramural research projects funded by the National Cancer Institute. This database is updated after the close of each fiscal year. NCI’s scientific organizations are asked to report their research funding according to specific research categories. The reports are combined to calculate the NCI funding totals for individual research areas and are published after review and verification.
The NCI Budget Fact Book is an annual report that provides a range of information and data from the previous fiscal year, from NCI program structure to research project grant numbers to extramural programs and historical trends.
Recent Trends in NCI Budgets
In FY 2017, Congress passed the 21st Century Cures Act, authorizing $1.8 billion in funding for the Cancer Moonshot initiative over 7 years. Before FY 2017, with the exception of the funding received through ARRA, the nation’s investment in cancer research experienced a prolonged hiatus in significant financial growth. Despite the opportunity for new funding through Cancer Moonshot, the increased cost of research and the constant dollar loss of funding due to inflation continue to impact the NCI budget and subsequently, the pace of investment in cancer research.
NCI Budget Process
The federal budget process involves the preparation of a number of separate reports and requests that relate to each other in varying degrees. As part of this process, NCI prepares several documents each year as required by law.
NCI prepares two budget requests for the coming fiscal year: the President’s Budget and the Professional Judgment Budget. These documents are available to Congress as it drafts the annual appropriation legislation for NCI.