The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) included $10.4 billion in funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Of the NIH Recovery Act funding, $8.2 billion was to be used to support additional scientific research and $400 million for comparative effectiveness research, including extramural research at universities and research institutions. NIH is comprised of the Office of the Director (OD) and 27 Institutes and Centers (IC), 24 of which make grant funding decisions. GAO was asked to report on how NIH awarded Recovery Act funds for scientific research and the information that NIH made available about the award of these funds. This report describes the (1) process and criteria NIH used to award extramural grants using Recovery Act funding, and (2) characteristics of Recovery Act extramural grants and the information made publicly available about these grants. GAO interviewed NIH officials in the OD and the three ICs that received the largest proportion of Recovery Act funds, and reviewed related documents, such as NIH guidance on awarding grants using Recovery Act funds. GAO also obtained and analyzed NIH data on all Recovery Act grants awarded as of April 2010.
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