One of the more common misconceptions about the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is the notion that it is, in fact, a World Health Organization (WHO) “arm” that is 100 percent funded by the WHO.
Why that’s false
WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl has stated that IARC is a “functionally independent” agency, and is primarily funded by the following non-WHO sources:
- IARC’s 25 member states each pay between $750,000 and $1.5 million a year.
- The bulk of IARC supplementary funding comes from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the European Commission (EC).
- IARC’s other major funding sources include the World Cancer Research Fund International and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, among other charitable and governmental sources (click here for a list of active grants).
Breaking Down IARC’s General Funding
IARC’s budget for 2015 was around $24 million. IARC claims roughly $8 million of that total came from grants. However, research indicates this total is underestimated. Notably, the total grant funding IARC received in 2015 from NIH and the EC alone — $11.95 million — is actually larger then what IARC estimates it receives in grants. It is unclear why IARC underreports the level of grant funding it receives from government agencies by at least 43 percent.
IARC received $3.2 million from NIH in 2015, according to NIH’s Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools (RePORT) database of grants.
- NIH and its agencies have provided grants to IARC totaling nearly $38 million between 1992 and 2015.
- IARC received $8.75 million in funding from the European Commission in 2015, according to the European Commission’s grants database. (2015 is the most recent year that complete data is available.)
Funding of the IARC Monographs Program
Two-thirds of the funding for the Monographs Program comes from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Cancer Institute (NCI), meaning U.S. taxpayers pick up a big chunk of the tab for IARC’s Monographs.
- NCI funding supports at least two Working Groups each year to produce two Monograph volumes.
- Current funding is $859,000 per year through a 5-year cooperative agreement.
- NIH provided IARC’s Monographs Program $828,046 in 2015.
- According to the European Commission’s grants database, it appears it also contributes $66,225 per year to the Monographs Program.
- The IARC Monographs Program represents less than four percent of the total IARC budget.