Estimates of Funding for Various Research, Condition, and Disease Categories (RCDC)

Table Published: February 24, 2020

The table below displays the annual support level for various research, condition, and disease categories based on grants, contracts, and other funding mechanisms used across the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as well as disease burden data published by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) at the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC).

At the request of Congress, the NIH embarked on a process to provide better consistency and transparency in the reporting of its funded research. This new process, implemented in 2008 through the Research, Condition, and Disease Categorization (RCDC) system, uses sophisticated text data mining (categorizing and clustering using words and multiword phrases) in conjunction with NIH-wide definitions used to match projects to categories. RCDC use of data mining improves consistency and eliminates the wide variability in defining the research categories reported. The definitions are a list of terms and concepts selected by NIH scientific experts to define a research category. The research category levels represent the NIH's best estimates based on the category definitions.

In 2016, the NIH added mortality and prevalence data from two sources of consistent and nationally-representative disease statistics provided by NCHS/CDC. These data are reported alongside the budgeting categories to provide the public and policymakers with information that is helpful for understanding the NIH research portfolio and its relationship to public health needs. However, NIH believes that the best way to understand disease burdens is by examining patterns in the larger context of multiple methods and measurements, chosen on a case-by-case basis as appropriate for each disease or condition. Further descriptions of these disease statistics can be found here

The NIH does not expressly budget by category. The annual estimates reflect amounts that change as a result of science, actual research projects funded, and the NIH budget. The research categories are not mutually exclusive. Individual research projects can be included in multiple categories so amounts depicted within each column of this table do not add up to 100 percent of NIH-funded research.

The table shows historical data for FY 2016 through FY 2019. Estimates for FY 2020 and FY2021 are based on RCDC actual data.

Total Number of Research/Disease Areas: 292