At the end of each fiscal year (FY), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports to Congress and the public the amount funded in each of 233 categories of diseases, conditions, and research areas. These reporting areas are a result of congressional formal requests and public interest. They do not reflect the entire NIH research portfolio and budget.
The NIH reports this information in a table titled "Estimates of Funding for Various Research, Condition, and Disease Categories (RCDC)." The public can use this information to view the funded levels in each category by fiscal year.
RCDC offers the public, scientists, and NIH staff a quick and easy way to access a complete and consistent list of research projects funded in research areas, diseases, or conditions. Using this RCDC process, the NIH provides project listings and associated dollar amounts for each of the 233 categories. Projects can be grants, contracts, or intramural research (research conducted in NIH laboratories and clinics).Because a project can have applicability to a variety of research areas, projects can fall into one or more categories.(See the RCDC FAQ question #20.)
Changes in funding amount for a particular reporting category can occur for a variety of reasons. In some cases, projects funded in previous fiscal years may be completed and new projects not awarded to take their place. Over time, some areas of research become may become less studied as focuses shift to emerging areas of science. In contrast, some research areas may have more awarded projects than in the past as new projects gain funding.
Changes in definitions may be driven by changes in the sciences within a category and be reflected as changes in funding levels.These changes can be more obvious in the broader areas of science. For example if there are major advances in both Breast Cancer and Liver Cancer, the Cancer category may reflect all of those changes.