For this world survey of genomics research, we identified 89 different organizations, representing 26 countries and 7 international organizations (covering multi-country regions; see Additional File). An initial response was received from about half (42; or 48 if counting those that we did not contact but about which we received information), with most of those (34) supplying the results shown in Table . The 14 organizations that responded to our request but did not provide information cited reasons such as the information not being available in the format requested (i.e. they were unable to estimate funding allocated to genomics research) or that genomics was not a part of their research portfolio.
Genomics Funding by Organization and Year, in US$ (millions)
An estimate for worldwide genomics funding from the responding organizations averages around US$2.9 billion for 2003 – 2006 (Table ). Although the table is incomplete for 2006 due to unavailability of funding amounts for South Africa's National Research Foundation and China, their combined total averaged less than three percent of worldwide government and nonprofit genomics research in 2003 – 2005.
When beginning this survey, we noted that the United States NIH publicly reported an estimate of funding for the research area of genetics [28
]. To find out more about this reporting practice, we requested and received the breakdown of genetics research funding by NIH component (Table ; Personal Communication, Arlette Howard, May 2006). In an effort to determine whether the NIH considered genomics research to be a subset of genetics research, we requested the definition of genetics research from the Office of Budget and found that the NIH does "not have an official definition" (Personal Communication, Arlette Howard, May 2006). Turning to each of the 24 grant-issuing Institutes and Centers of the NIH, we requested information about their definitions for genetics and genomics research. Except for the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the NHGRI, discussed below, each Institute and Center informed us that they did not have a definition for genetics, and that they do not track genomics research funding.
Genetics Funding by the National Institutes of Health, in US$ (thousands)
The NCI provided a definition for both genetics and genomics, and informed us that fiscal year 2006 marked the first year of data collection on genomics research (Personal Communication, Weston Ricks, June 2006). In fiscal years 2006 and 2007, NCI genomics research funding corresponded to 7.0% and 10.2% of genetics funding, respectively (Personal Communication, Weston Ricks, July 2008), as indicated in Table . To estimate the amount of genomics research funded by NCI in fiscal years 2003 – 2005, we applied the average fraction from 2006 – 2007 (8.6%) to the amount of genetics funding (Table ). Upon examining the funding history of NHGRI [29
], we observed that the NHGRI genetics values from the NIH Office of Budget (Table ) corresponded to the amount of the NHGRI total budget, less Roadmap Transfer, and Research Management & Support. Since this value also corresponds to Intramural Research plus all (Extramural) Research, Training, and R&D Contracts for Human Genome Project [29
], and since its mission "encompasses a broad range of studies aimed at understanding the structure and function of the human genome and its role in health and disease" [30
], this amount appears to be the figure that NHGRI reports as genomics research, reflected in Table . Although other Institutes and Centers support genomics research, they do not report the values, so we present the values from NCI and NHGRI as a minimum estimate for NIH spending on genomics research (US$563 – 571 million in 2003 – 2006).
Genomics Funding by the National Institutes of Health, in US$ (thousands)
The 34 organizations in the survey account for 13 countries directly, as well as indirectly including another 28 countries that are eligible for full funding by the European Commission (27 member states of the European Union plus Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Israel, and Turkey; Personal Communication, Indridi Benedikttson, September 2006). Only five of the thirty-three countries fully eligible for European Commission funding are directly represented in this world survey (the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany, Ireland, and Spain). Of note, funds from the European Commission cover about 50% of the costs of the funded projects; the remaining costs are covered by each institution that receives funding (Personal Communication, Indridi Benedikttson, September 2006), which are included in Table as European Commission matching funds.
We grouped the organizations by country (Table ) into three tiers based on the amount of genomics research funded. The five countries or regions that funded more than US$100 million in genomics research in each of the four years surveyed are the United States, Other Europe, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Japan. The next tier includes China, Germany, the Netherlands, South Korea, and Ireland, which reported between US$35 – 80 million in genomics research funding each year (with the exception of 2004 for the Netherlands, which was lower than the other years because expenditures were "declared (much) later" [31
]). Finally, Spain, Australia, and South Africa reported less than US$14 million each year.
Genomics funding by country or region, in US$
To examine the priority each country places on genomics research, as a measure of "genomics intensity," we normalized public funding for genomics research to the national population (Table ) and to Gross Domestic Product (GDP; Table ). Ireland spent approximately US$9 – 11 on genomics research per capita while the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, and the Netherlands funded between US$2.8 – 6.4 per capita each year (with the exception of 2004 for the Netherlands, see above). Japan, South Korea, and Germany spent between US$0.70 – 1.30 annually per capita on genomics, while the remaining four countries surveyed (Australia, Spain, South Africa, and China) spent less than US$0.38 annually per capita. Genomics funding as a fraction of GDP shows the same relative ranking as genomics funding per capita for the first five countries, followed by South Korea, Japan, China, Germany, South Africa, Australia, and Spain (Table ).
Genomics funding per capita by country, in US$
Genomics funding per GDP by country (×100,000)