In recent years, research at the Medical Center has developed at an unprecedented rate; among academic medical centers nationwide, our research program has grown at the third-fastest rate in the nation. In little more than a decade, we added several new buildings – tripling the space devoted to research – as well as dozens of laboratories, which are filled with people focused on improving human health.
Much of this growth has made the Medical Center an attractive choice for research support from the National Institutes of Health, which remains the largest single funder of our research. Yet, after a period of exceptional growth in the 1990s, the NIH budget has been essentially flat or growing slightly at best since 2004. While federal stimulus dollars helped boost our research significantly through the heart of the recession, 2011 brought a decline in our NIH research support, due in large part to the end of the stimulus program. Despite this, more than a dozen of our programs are among the top 20 nationwide in terms of NIH funding, with Orthopedics, Neurology and Neurosurgery, Environmental Medicine and Public Health Sciences near the top.
We have drawn on our historic strengths and undertaken a series of initiatives to thrive in this challenging environment. Programs like our NIH-funded Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) have given us the flexibility to adapt to a rapidly changing funding environment. We have moved in step with agencies such as NIH as it has spurred greater effort into translational research, and into comparative effectiveness and health systems research.
The collegiality of our scientists continues to be a potent tool, allowing us to strike up new collaborations within our own walls and beyond. We are working more closely with other institutions, such as Roswell Park Cancer Institute and Temple University, with companies like IBM, and with organizations like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Through CTSI we have established a network of more than a dozen institutions throughout New York state working together to perform research studies. We are an eager partner in the research enterprise, drawing on our collaborative spirit to initiate new research programs and attract new support at a time when funding is at a premium.