|NIH Stipend Freeze Background|
The National Institutes of Health has announced that the Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 stipend levels for the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Institutional Research Training Grants (T32) for undergraduate, predoctoral, and postdoctoral trainees and fellows will incease by 2%. The levels also were increased by 2 percent in 2011. Although the NPA applauds these increases, they still fall far short of the NIH’s pledge to increase stipend amounts by 10 to12 percent per year during the earlier part of this decade and to ensure that stipends would keep pace with inflation thereafter (see text of NIH pledge from 2001 below).
The need for higher stipends continues. The 2011 National Academies study, Research Training in the Biomedical, Behavioral, and Clinical Research Sciences, called for, among other recommendations, increased funding to support more NRSA positions and to fulfill the NIH's 2001 commitment to increase pre-doctoral and post-doctoral stipends.
Excerpts from the NIH 2001 Statement:
The NIH supports higher stipends for NRSA recipients and therefore announces tentative targets of $45,000 for entry-level postdoctoral stipends. Future budget requests will incorporate 10 to 12 percent stipend increases until this target is reached. After attainment of this target, the real value of stipends will be maintained with annual cost-of-living adjustments.
Recommendation 5-4. Stipends and other forms of compensation for those in training should be based on education and experience and should be regularly adjusted to reflect changes in the cost of living.
The NIH concurs with the committee’s observation that NRSA stipends are unduly low in view of the high level of education and professional skills involved in biomedical research. NRSA stipend targets have been identified for both predoctoral and postdoctoral recipients. NIH plans to develop budget requests that will permit an increase in stipends by 10 to 12 percent per year for the next few years in order to reach those targets. Once the targets have been attained, annual cost-of-living adjustments will be instituted so that stipend levels remain relatively constant in real value. The appropriateness of stipend levels will be examined in future years to maintain comparability to levels of income available to students and postdoctorates from other sources.
NRSA Stipends Trends