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The Rheumatology Research Foundation and Rheumatology News report that research projects funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) dropped by 52% from 2010 to 2014, while the number funded by private foundations fell by 29% over that period.
In 2010, 826 projects were funded by the NIH to ACR members. By 2014, that number was down to 515 (52% decline). During the same timeframe, private foundation funding to ACR contacts went from 90 to 64 funded projects (29% fall).
In that same time period, NIH funding went from $1.16 billion to $686 million while investment by private foundations dropped from $20.7 million in 2010 to $13.6 million in 2014.
The RRF reports that funding for osteoporosis dropped by 31%, while arthritis and lupus were down 22% and Lyme disease spending fell by 21%. Federal funding of autoimmune disease research was down by 16%. Funding was up for scleroderma (14%) and fibromyalgia (11%), although the total spending for these two areas was much lower than for the others, with 2014 scleroderma funding ($24 million) coming to about a tenth of that for arthritis ($239 million).
These trends will strain the efforts of academic investigators and put greater pressure on the ACR and RFF to foster new revenue streams for rheumatology research.