Cerebral palsy research funding from the National Institutes of Health, 2001 to 2013

Dev Med Child Neurol. 2015 Oct;57(10):936-41. doi: 10.1111/dmcn.12789. Epub 2015 May 6.


Aim: Cerebral palsy (CP) is a poorly understood disorder with no cure. We determined the landscape of National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding for CP-related research.

Method: We searched NIH databases Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools Expenditures and Results, and Research, Condition, and Disease Categorization for keywords 'cerebral palsy' among all NIH-funded studies, 2001 to 2013. We classified grants by type and area of study.

Results: NIH funding, averaging $30 million per year, supported clinical ($215 million), basic ($187 million), and translational ($26.3 million) CP-related research. Clinical intervention studies comprised 19% of funding, and focused on treatments ($60.3 million), early parent intervention ($2.7 million), and CP prevention ($2.5 million). Among grants that specified gestational age, more funds were devoted to preterm ($166 million) than term infants ($15 million). CP in adulthood was the main focus of 4% of all funding. Annual NIH funding for CP increased steadily over the study period from $3.6 to $66.7 million. However, funding for clinical intervention studies peaked in 2008, and has since decreased.

Interpretation: Additional research funds are needed to improve the treatment and prevention of CP. Topics that have been relatively underfunded include clinical interventions, prevention, and term infants and adults with CP.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research / economics*
  • Biomedical Research / statistics & numerical data
  • Cerebral Palsy / economics*
  • Databases, Factual
  • Financing, Organized / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • National Institutes of Health (U.S.) / economics
  • National Institutes of Health (U.S.) / statistics & numerical data*
  • Research Support as Topic*
  • United States