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March 1, 2006

Funding for Biomedical Research—Reply

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Robert M. Golub, MD, Senior Editor.

JAMA. 2006;295(9):999-1001. doi:10.1001/jama.295.9.1000-b

In Reply: Dr Kupersmith highlights the significant investments the VA makes in biomedical research. The National Science Foundation source1 we used for our article indicates that for fiscal year 2002, federal obligations for biomedical research by the VA was approximately $250 million. Another report, also from the National Science Foundation,2 indicates that for fiscal year 2004, the preliminary federal research and development budget authority for veterans benefits and services was $820 million, similar to the figure Kupersmith cites. The discrepancy, which is likely due to accounting and definitional differences (all research and development vs that solely devoted to biomedical research), highlights the difficulty in assembling a complete and consistent picture of all public and private sources of research support. Availability of such a picture will allow all research sponsors to make more informed decisions regarding resource allocation. We intend to compile such data in the future and to make it easily accessible.