January 9 2020
Biotechnology/Life Sciences/Pharmaceuticals,Research & Development

Capital Region NIH Awards Climb to 11-Year High

National Institutes of Health (NIH) awards in the Capital Region climbed to an 11-year high in fiscal 2019, driven by a surge in R&D funding at AMRI, GE Global Research, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) and Albany Medical Center, according to a Center for Economic Growth (CEG) analysis.1

“These NIH awards are adding momentum to the Capital Region’s rapidly expanding life sciences cluster. Our robust academic and corporate R&D assets, combined with an unparalleled talent pipeline across several institutions, are giving life to not only life-saving innovations but also a stronger regional economy,” said CEG President and CEO Andrew Kennedy.


In fiscal 2019, 16 public and private firms and institutions received 169 NIH grants totaling $76.9 million, up 24 percent over the year, based on current dollars. When adjusting for inflation (2019 dollars), that was the largest total award since fiscal 2009. AMRI in Albany saw the largest annual increase in funding – 470.8 percent to $7.4 million. That was AMRI’s largest award total since fiscal 2011, when adjusting for inflation (2019 dollars). Other big gainers included Health Research Inc. in Albany at 97.9 percent to $1.4 million, and GE Global Research in Niskayuna at 50.5 percent to $6 million.

“GE Research is proud to partner with the NIH to advance cutting-edge research in medical diagnostics to help improve patient care. More broadly, we’re excited to be part of a burgeoning innovation ecosystem right here in the Capital Region that continues to attract new projects and drive economic opportunities,” Keith Longtin, our Director of Government & Commercial Research Operations at GE Research.

More than half (52.7 percent) of the region’s awards went to three institutions: the University at Albany at $14.5 million, or 18.8 percent; the New York Department of Health’s Wadsworth Center at $13.5 million, or 17.6 percent; and Albany Medical Center at $12.6 million, or 16.3 percent. Albany Med received its largest NIH funding total since fiscal 2012, when adjusting for inflation.

“Our research funding has grown due in part to our successful efforts to recruit and retain prominent basic science and clinical faculty who work alongside each other on a variety of important translational research projects,” said Vincent P. Verdile, M.D., the Lynne and Mark Groban, M.D., ’67 Distinguished Dean of Albany Medical College and Senior Executive Vice President of System Care Delivery. “We are excited about the potential this NIH funding provides in helping us advance the knowledge of various diseases and the potential to bring new medical treatments to our patients.”

More than half (51.5 percent) of the fiscal 2019 funding came from four out of 20 NIH institutes and centers (ICs). They were: the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at $12.3 million, or 16 percent; the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS): $10.7 million, or 13.9 percent; the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB):$9.7 million, or 12.6 percent; and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS): 6.9 million, or 8.9 percent.

Select Capital Region NIH Projects

CEG and the Life Sciences Cluster

CEG is supporting the growth of the region’s life sciences cluster by engaging in the following activities:

Marketing the Capital Region’s life sciences R&D assets at talent pipeline at industry conferences across the country, such as BIO CEO & Investor in New York and BIO International in San Diego.

Conducting a life sciences cluster study that developed an action plan for: 1. improving the commercialization of local life sciences innovations, 2. strengthening the region’s life sciences ecosystem; 3. and recruiting contract research organizations (CROs) to the region.

Assisting life sciences startups with accessing labs, office space, and other facilities; developing venture pitches; identifying potential investors and mentors.

Helping biotech firms, such as Vital Vio, grow through Business Growth Solutions services, including continuous improvement, technology acceleration, energy and sustainability, supply chain development and workforce initiatives.


1 Data from the NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools (RePORT). Inflation calculations by www.usinflationcalculator.com/.


The Center for Economic Growth (CEG) is the Capital Region’s regional economic development organization, with over 265 investors in business, government, education, and the not-for-profit sectors. CEG is a New York Empire State Development Division of Science, Technology and Innovation-designated Regional Technology Development Center and an affiliate of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)/Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP). For more information, visit www.ceg.org


Funding Partners