Federal funding of nursing research by the National Institutes of Health (NIH): 1993 to 2017

Highlights

  • NINR funding is inadequate relative to the number of doctoral programs in nursing
  • NINR funding to schools/colleges of nursing peaked in 2005 and has declined since
  • The return on investment for nursing research exceeds the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index
  • NINR/NIH extramural funding needs to increase to $763 million to fund 90% of schools

 

Abstract

Background

There has been a dramatic increase in the number of doctoral programs (PhD and DNP) that prepare nurse research scientists and advanced practitioners since establishment of the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 1985.

Purpose

The purpose of this report is to examine the historical context of federal research funding to schools/colleges of nursing to determine if the NINR/NIH budget is adequate.

Method

Data were extracted from the NIH RePORT/ER database from 1993 to 2017. Additional data were obtained from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. A return on investment analysis for four landmark nursing studies is included.

Findings

The percent of the NINR budget awarded to schools/colleges of nursing peaked in 2005; since 2011, more funding to schools/colleges of nursing was received from all other NIH institutes combined, compared to NINR. The return on investment for four nursing research studies, ranged from $1:$202 to $1:$1,206, and far exceeds the Standard and Poor’s 500 Index (S&P 500) of 10%.

Discussion

Federal funding of nursing research is inadequate and a chokepoint relative to the number of doctoral programs. We suggest the NINR budget would need to increase at least fivefold to over $763 million to adequately fund nursing science. The impact of inadequate funding on the discipline is discussed.