White House announces new microbiome initiative

16 May 2016

US$121 million in funding committed towards improving our knowledge of the microbiome.

The initiative, announced by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) ‘aims to advance understanding of microbiomes in order to aid in the development of useful applications in areas such as health care, food production and environmental restoration.’

The White House plans to commit US$121 million of funding through various federal agencies, including the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. Private institutions from across a range of fields have announced a further US$400 million of funding to support the initiative.

Following a ‘year-long fact-finding process’ the newly formed National Microbiome Initiative (NMI) has three primary goals: To support interdisciplinary research, to develop new technologies, and to expand the microbiome workforce.

According to the White House’s fact sheet, annual federal investment into the microbiome tripled between 2012 and 2014, to close to US$922 million in total. The NMI hopes to build on existing federal funded work by improving inter-departmental cooperation and interdisciplinary cross eco-system research and development.

The White House believes that: ‘The launch of the NMI marks a milestone for microbiome science. We expect that by accelerating progress in this important field, the NMI will deliver considerable benefits to our planet and those who inhabit it.

PHG Foundation’s Sowmiya Moorthie gave us her thoughts on the potential of the microbiome back in April. Read her blog here.

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