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 fuel progress
  • Translational move basic discoveries forward
  • Clinical turn discoveries into prevention, treatments, and cures
  • A creative and diverse workforce...since people are our most important resource
  • A balanced research 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. Download the full brochure.

Our Biggest Health Challenges

Chronic illness are common and costly, and many are preventable. NIH Researchers — Basic, Translation, clinical and community based — are tackling these challenges head on.

A Healthy Mind

Only a few centuries ago, it seemed fanciful that a physical organ, the brain, could control activities such as thinking and feeling. We now know that this amazing biological machine made up of roughly 86 billion neurons and trillions of nerve circuits is the command center for many of the body's vital processes.

The Future of Biomedicine

To achieve its goal of turning discover into health and to maintain its role as the world's premier biomedical research agency, NIH must support the best scientific ideas and brightest scientific minds.

Transformative Technologies

In a cyclic fashion, technology drives science, and science creates technologies to tackle scientific problems as they arise.  Technology development often requires input from many times of minds, including not only biologists and chemists but also mathematicians, engineers, and computer scientists.  

Research for Healthy Living

Scientific and technological breakthroughs generated by NIH research have helped more people in the United States and all over the world live longer, healthier lives.  These advancements were achieved by making disease less deadly through effective interventions to prevent and treat illness and disability. 

The Promise of Precision Medicine

Precision medicine is an innovative approach that takes into account individual differences in patients’ genes, environments, and lifestyles.  Millions of people have already bee touched by the area of precision medicine that has grown directly from biomedical research.

Looking Forward

NIH research saves lives and strengthens our economy through job creation and improved quality of life for millions of Americans. There is little doubt that this research investment is one of the wisest moves we can make as a nation.

Because of NIH Research

NIH research is helping people live longer, healthier lives through better prevention strategies and methods, diagnosis, and treatment.