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Triangle leads nation in NIH per-capita funding

by Bryant Haskins, NCBiotech Writer — July 30, 2019

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK — North Carolina’s Research Triangle region has another statistic to crow about.

A recent study by the State Science & Technology Institute (SSTI) reported that the Durham-Chapel Hill metropolitan area led the nation last year in per-capita funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). NIH is the medical research agency housed within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The region also placed sixth in total NIH funding during 2018. The ranking includes grants to businesses and other organizations headquartered in Research Triangle Park. The SSTI analysis focused on 123 metropolitan areas that received at least 20 NIH awards during the year.

“This report reinforces what we already know about this area of North Carolina and the state in general,” said Doug Edgeton, president and CEO the North Carolina Biotechnology Center. “We’re one of the premier research hubs in the country. Our universities, life science companies and other research-focused entities are doing cutting-edge work that’s a magnet for grants from NIH and other agencies.”

Research Triangle area organizations and businesses received more than 2,500 NIH grants last year, totaling close to $1.5 billion. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University led the way with a combined total of more than 1,700 awards worth nearly $1 billion. The state is off to a good start again this year. The NIH already has made more than 1,550 grants for about  $850 million.

According to SSTI, the Durham-Chapel Hill area received $2,059.70 per person in NIH support in 2018. It was one of only four regions in the country where NIH per-capita funding was greater than $1,000. The Tar Heel region had a significant lead over the other three areas, which included Ann Arbor, Michigan ($1,533.40), Rochester, Minnesota ($1,035.60) and Iowa City, Iowa ($1,001.60).

Bigger cities fared less well on a per-capita basis. Among metropolitan areas with more than a million residents, NIH funding per capita was highest in Boston ($548.60 per person), Baltimore ($330.10) and San Diego ($279.00). Birmingham, Pittsburg and St. Louis also were in the top 10.

In that same category, Washington, D.C. saw its NIH funding increase the most over the five-year period – from 2014 through 2018 – that SSTI collected data. The area’s grants grew by 123.6 percent, followed by Raleigh at 99.6 percent and Grand Rapids, Michigan at 73.4 percent. One region in Florida and two in Virginia were the only locations to see a decrease in NIH support over the same five years. Tampa Bay declined in funding by more than 15 percent, with Richmond falling more than 5 percent and Virginia Beach just over 4 percent. During that time, NIH made 268,355 awards worth more than $126 billion. About 98 percent of those grants went to organizations in metropolitan areas.

SSTI is a national non-profit organization dedicated to supporting prosperity through science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship. The organization is headquartered in Westerville, a suburb of Columbus, Ohio.

Article Source: WRAL TechWire