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The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) is funded annually by Congressional appropriation. Every year, the President submits a budget request for the entire federal government to Congress, which then conducts hearings on that budget request.

How is NHGRI funded?

Different Congressional committees have the authority to approve specific sections of the federal budget. Representatives of NHGRI testify before the House and Senate subcommittees on Health and Human Services, Labor, Education and related agencies, where Congress is updated on the accomplishments, needs and opportunities of NHGRI. Congress also hears testimony from public witnesses such as experts in genetic research or representatives of genetic disease advocacy groups.

After listening to the testimony, the House of Representatives determines a funding level for NHGRI and sends its recommendation to the Senate. After the Senate conducts hearings, both bodies of Congress meet to agree on funding levels for all of the institutes and centers of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including NHGRI. Congress then sends an appropriation bill with the recommended funding levels to the President. After the President signs the budget, NHGRI receives its funding.

For more information on the budget process, visit the House of Representatives website [budget.house.gov].

How does NHGRI decide what to spend money on?

The NHGRI has been guided by a series of overlapping plans outlining its priorities and goals. These plans clearly enumerate program objectives to the scientific community and the public, and provide measurable targets to guide the work and gauge the progress of NHGRI.

NHGRI publishes program announcements that list areas of research interest. Individual scientists or academic institutions; non-profit organizations; community hospitals; and companies, apply for funding to conduct research in these areas. All applications undergo a two-tier, peer-review process. NHGRI funds the proposals that are ranked highest scientifically and are within program priorities.

NHGRI is counseled on the scientific merit of proposed research by three primary, chartered advisory groups who serve two functions: The National Advisory Council for Human Genome Research (NACHGR) and the National Human Genome Research Institute Initial Review Group review extramural research proposals; the Division of Intramural Research Board of Scientific Counselors reviews research conducted at NHGRI. These advisory groups include scientists; researchers in the ethical, legal, and social implications of the human genome research; consumers; and policy experts. The NIH Center for Scientific Review manages the review process for most investigator-initiated research grants.

How does NHGRI evaluate the quality of the scientific research it funds?

Extramural Research Program directors at NHGRI review the annual research reports submitted by principal investigators. If the program directors determine that the extramural researcher is making satisfactory scientific progress, then the next year of funding can be awarded. The grants management staff monitors compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

The Board of Scientific Counselors meets twice a year and reviews each tenured investigator and tenure-track investigator in NHGRI's Division of Intramural Research once every four years. In addition, tenure-track investigators are reviewed according to guidelines established by the NIH Office of Intramural Research, and described in the NIH Intramural Research Sourcebook [od.nih.gov].

How does NHGRI monitor the ways that outside researchers use funds?

The NHGRI Grants Administration Branch oversees the appropriate use of funds by extramural researchers. The public can find grants supported by NHGRI at NHGRI/NIH Active Grants. or all NIH grants at NIH RePORTER [projectreporter.nih.gov], a searchable database of all federally funded, biomedical research.

Can I donate to NHGRI?

Although the NHGRI is a federally funded organization and not a fund-raising organization, we have been authorized by the U.S. Congress to accept donations and bequests to support the NHGRI mission.

Donations to the NHGRI are handled in our "Gift Fund" account, which is separate from the appropriation that we receive from Congress. Since our basic operating expenses and administrative costs are paid from our appropriation, all donations to the NHGRI are used for various purposes, such as special projects, workshops or conferences on subjects of immediate importance to genetic research and researchers.

You can make a contribution to NHGRI by sending a check or money order payable to the National Human Genome Research Institute, and addressed to:

Eric D. Green, M.D., Ph.D.
Director, National Human Genome Research Institute
Building 31, Suite 4B09
9000 Rockville Pike, MSC 2152
Bethesda, MD 20892-2152


Ann S
Ann S. Fitzpatrick
  • Chief
  • Financial Management Branch

Last updated: October 5, 2015