MDI Biological Laboratory
Press Release

Economic Analysis Shows NIH Funding is Vital for Maine, Other Rural States

Spinoff effects are the eye openers

National Institutes of Health awards from 2016 through last year amounted to $704 million in Maine alone.

A new report demonstrates the essential role that federal support for biomedical research and development plays in sustaining the health and prosperity of rural states. In Maine, for instance, National Institutes of Health awards from 2016 through last year amounted to $704 million.

The spinoff effects are the eye openers: every dollar the NIH invested here produced $2.30 in economic activity, for a total of more than $1.5 billion. That supported nearly 12,000 Maine jobs whose workers earned $530 million over the period.

MDI Bio Lab is the state’s third largest recipient of NIH funding – behind only the Jackson Laboratory and Maine Health.

Our ability to support our faculty’s research and educational roles depends on three foundational ingredients: the excellence of their work, the generosity of our donors, and federal funding — including two key NIH institution-building programs that are targeted to rural states:

  • The Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) program that seeded the 10 laboratories now chugging away in the in the Kathryn W. Davis Center for Regenerative Biology and Aging.
  • The IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE), a collaboration among 14 research and higher education institutions in Maine. Led by MDI Bio Lab, the network shares resources and infrastructure to provide training for undergraduates, support young faculty as they seek further federal funding, and infrastructure investments to increase the state’s scientific capacity.

Both are administered by the NIH’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), which has been able to increase its awards since 2013 thanks to steady increases in the overall NIH budget.

“The new report shows what a game-changer federal funds are for doing innovative science and creating high-paying jobs in small states like Maine,” says Hermann Haller, M.D., President of MDI Bio Lab. “It shows that if NIH funding had even just stayed flat, Maine would have lost millions of dollars in economic activity, and almost 2,000 jobs.”

The report comes at a time when federal lawmakers are considering an NIH budget that is essentially flat, when set against inflation. It was produced by United for Medical Research (UMR).

UMR is a coalition of leading research institutions, patient and health advocates and private industry seeking strong and sustainable increases in funding for the National Institutes of Health in order to save and improve lives, advance innovation and fuel the economy.

The Maine INBRE Network of higher eduction and research institutions, led by MDI Bio Lab, is supported by $86 million in direct NIH funding, has attracted $80 million in additional federal grants, provided research training for approximately 2,250 Maine students and created more than 100 new jobs.