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Created in 1887 as a one-room laboratory on Staten Island, NY, NIH was officially designated by Congress in 1930. Since then, the agency has grown to be the world’s largest source of medical research funding and the driving force behind decades of advances that have expanded fundamental scientific knowledge and improved health.
NIH’s mission is to seek fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and to apply that knowledge to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability.
To carry out this mission, NIH supports:
Basic research...to fuel progress
Translational research...to move basic discoveries forward
Clinical research...to turn discoveries into prevention, treatments, and cures
A creative and diverse workforce...since people are our most important resource
A balanced research portfolio...to ensure high return on investment for U.S. taxpayers
Revolutionary ideas often come from unexpected directions. Many concepts and tools central to understanding and improving health have come from basic, untargeted research. NIH not only supports these basic advances but also conducts the clinical and translational research that transforms discoveries into medical practice.