Funding for biomedical research across all health categories: Analysis of grants by major funders

18 May, 2020

Sharing on behalf of the WHO Global Observatory on Health R&D.

Investments on grants for biomedical research by funder, type of grant, health category and recipient (World RePORT) [

New analysis from the WHO Global Observatory on Health R&D [] allows users to explore the distribution of funding for biomedical research across all health categories among the 10 funders of health research that reported data to the World RePORT [!/] in 2017, for the year 2016. Total investment on grants for biomedical research for 2016 amounted to approx. US$ 33 billion.

For example, data shows:

* Three-quarters of the total grants for biomedical research were awarded by the United States of America’s National Institutes of Health (NIH).

* Almost 85% of all the grants were awarded to recipient organizations in the United States of America.

* Almost two-thirds of all the grants were awarded for noncommunicable diseases (NCDs); more than a quarter of all investments in this area were for research relating to malignant neoplasms.

* Almost 85% of all grants awarded for communicable, maternal, perinatal and nutritional conditions were for research relating to infectious and parasitic diseases. Around 60% of this was for research relating to HIV (38%), malaria (13%) and tuberculosis (10%).

* Only a tiny proportion of grants target a WHO neglected tropical diseases [] (approx. 1%) or a WHO R&D Blueprint pathogen [] (approx. 0.6%).

Interactive charts allow further exploration of data. For example, users can explore data on:

· grants – by funder, type, and health category;

· recipient – by WHO region, income group, country/territory and organization.

The information will be of particular interest to funders wishing to explore gaps in biomedical research funding or in building research capacity.

See also our two previous analyses of the World RePORT data focusing on the number of grants provided and the nature of collaborations among recipient institutions that resulted from these grants:

1. Number of grants for health research by funder, type of grant, duration, health category and recipients (World RePORT)[

2. Collaborations (between institutions) that resulted from grants for health research (World RePORT)[

Finally, check regular updates on the - such as the latest data on gross domestic expenditures on health R&D [], health ODA by donor [] and recipient [] countries, G-FINDER Grants data for 2018 [ , clinical trials monitoring (1999-2019 [ and health products in the pipeline for all diseases [ (updated monthly).

Alternatively, check the full list of data visualizations [] for available analyses.

Note: for up to date information on WHO COVID-19 R&D resources see:

WHO Global Health R&D Observatory:


HIFA profile: Julie N Reza is a UK-based specialist in communications for biosciences, global health & international development ( She predominantly works with NGOs and not-for-profit organisations. Previously she was the senior science editor at TDR, based at the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva; prior to this she worked at the Wellcome Trust, UK, leading educational projects on international health topics including trypanosomiasis and trachoma. She has a PhD in immunology and a specialist degree in science communication. She also has several years research and postgraduate teaching experience. She is a member of the HIFA Steering Group and HIFA Social Media Working Group.

Email: naimareza AT