National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Supporting a broad portfolio of research
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the leading US agency for funding and conducting medical research, and the biggest funder of global health research and development (R&D) in the world. The NIH is composed of 27 institutes and centers, and invests over $30 billion in medical research annually. The agency funds, conducts, and builds capacity for R&D in over 90 countries across the globe. Dr. Francis Collins, NIH director, has identified global health research as one of five opportunities for his tenure.
Much of the direct global health research conducted on the NIH campus—as well as research conducted by universities, institutes, companies, and nonprofits funded through the NIH’s grant mechanisms—is organized by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). NIAID includes the Office of Global Research and research programs such as the Clinical Trials Networks, which NIAID in 2011 expanded to include research for major infectious diseases other than HIV/AIDS.
In an effort to accelerate product development, NIH has created—and Congress has funded—the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) to spur innovation and new technologies, including those for neglected diseases of the developing world. NCATS will help move products further down the research pipeline, making investments more attractive for the private sector.
NIH also directs global health training and provides support to more than 100 countries through the Fogarty International Center. The center:
- Arranges for foreign scientists to train in the United States.
- Supports more than 19 neglected disease specific clinical trial networks.
- Provides training and education support to scientists in over 12 countries in sub-Saharan Africa through the Medical Education Partnership Initiative.
- Supports the development of HIV research centers in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
Leader in product development
NIH has been a leader in the discovery and development of innovative new global health products. For example, NIH:
- Developed the first vaccine to protect children against typhoid fever, a disease that kills an estimated 216,000 people each year.
- Developed and recently improved the first vaccine against rotavirus, the main cause of acute childhood diarrhea leading to 450,000 deaths each year.
- Was the first institution to donate its intellectual property to the Medicines Patent Pool for the HIV/AIDS antiretroviral drug darunavir.
- Supported the development of the first rapid diagnostic test for tuberculosis.
- Discovered the first effective drug against HIV/AIDS.
- Developed a technology to make vaccines cheaper, more effective, and more consistent.
For more information on the above data, please see:
Saving lives and creating impact: Why investing in global health research works. Global Health Technologies Coalition and Policy Cures.
Sustaining progress: Creating US policies to spur global health innovation. Global Health Technologies Coalition