• Joan Rothchild Hardin

New White House National Microbiome Initiative


It is now known that microbes have an enormous impact – for good or ill – on people’s health and the health of the entire planet. Two days ago, on May 13 2016, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy heeded the advice of scientists and launched a new National Microbiome Initiative. The program will foster interdisciplinary study of the various microbiomes found in and on the human body and across diverse ecosystems. (Nather, 2016)

The new National Microbiome Initiative will begin with a federal investment of $121 million in funding from several governmental agencies and additional private support from more than 100 outside organizations, including $100 million over four years from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The Initiative will include $20 million in new research grants from the National Institutes of Health, as well as $16 million from the National Science Foundation, $15.9 million from the Department of Agriculture, $12.5 million from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and $10 million from the Department of Energy.