@UMR4NIH statement on proposed NIH and Medical Research budgets~! #Science

[tweet https://twitter.com/UMR4NIH/status/562389423598227456]

Great statement from United for Medical Research on proposed NIH budget and more – President Carrie Wolinetz

“We welcome President Obama’s FY16 budget proposal to increase National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding and eliminate harmful sequestration. NIH has fostered remarkable advancements in human health, but has suffered from inadequate funding for the past decade. Additional resources will help defeat our nation’s most harmful diseases — including cancer, heart disease and diabetes — and fuel job creation in the life sciences sector – a win-win.

“We also commend the president for his Precision Medicine proposal. Investing in precision medicine and NIH ‘patient-powered research’ will continue to transform how diseases are treated, harnessing the power of the human genome, heath informatics and medical imaging to better understand individual patients’ unique needs. Precision medicine is an extraordinary example of how previous research discoveries build the foundation from which to launch cutting edge medical advancement, illustrating how NIH funding of today saves lives both present and future.

“Given the many economic, societal and health benefits borne from investments in medical research, we call on lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to make increasing NIH funding and eliminating sequestration a top priority in FY16 and beyond.”

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LIVE Budget 2016 coverage via ScienceInsider

The Obama administration today presents its budget request to Congress for the 2016 fiscal year, which begins in October. ScienceInsider will be tracking the numbers and providing analysis all day. Check back frequently!

A first look at the numbers from the budget request:
  • Would provide $146 billion for research and development, 5.5% above 2015 levels. R&D includes basic and applied research and technology development programs.
  • $32.8 billion for basic research, a 3% increase.
  • $34.1 billion for applied research, a 4% increase.
  • $31.3 billion for NIH, roughly a 3% increase.
  • 5.2% increase for NSF, up $379 million to $7.724 billion.
  • Repeats call to make R&D tax credit permanent.
  • Repeats last’s years request for $325 million for ARPA-E; Congress gave just $275 million.
  • Requests $450 million for USDA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative; current budget is $325 million.
  • $71.3 billion for overall Pentagon R&D, 9% increase.
  • $3 billion request for DARPA, $101 million over 2015.

Check out the full budget here

And also, check out the press release from NSF regarding the budget.

 

TELL CONGRESS – We NEED CURES, NOT CUTs! @ResearchAmerica

Research!America has a great page where you can email your representatives and tell them we NEED CURES, NOT CUTs! Support medical research and advocate science by contacting your members of congress to fight cuts to science.

ResAmer

Medical Research Saves Lives, Provides Hope and Fuels our Economy.
We NEED CURES, NOT CUTS.
 Sequestration arbitrarily stifles federal investment in national priorities like medical research and innovation, at the expense of America and Americans.

Deficit reduction is important, but there are ways to achieve it that do not set out nation back, threatening our global leadership and shortchanging the health and safety of the American people.

Tell Congress: WE NEED CURES, NOT CUTS!

Are we doing enough to accelerate medical progress?

Short answer: NO!!!

Long answer: this lovely blog post on The Hill by former reps John Porter (R-Ill.) and Kweisi Mfume (D-Md.)

Big points from the article: 

To accelerate innovation, protect health and save lives, policymakers must close the massive gap between the level of funding necessary to advance medical progress and the token funding levels allocated to research over the last several years.

“A majority of Americans agree that basic scientific research that advances the frontiers of knowledge is necessary and should be supported by the federal government, according to polling commissioned by Research!America. And Americans understand that research is important to job creation and economic recovery.  Why doesn’t the federal budget reflect those truths?”

In conclusion, scientists want more funding, Americans AGREE that science is important (my previous post), and that scientists should get more funding, but for some reason… we aren’t getting more funding and the budget doesn’t reflect what the scientists and the people want.  I think we can all see where the holdup is: congress.  

The solution?  From the blog post: It’s time for champions of science to engage the public and their elected representatives, and demand a stronger investment in the research that fuels discovery and innovation. 

Cutting budgets for medical research is dangerous… YA THINK?!

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Great op ed piece for CNN by Claire Pomeroy and Eric Kandel about why budget cuts to medical research are incredibly debilitating for scientists and dangerous for the public.  They hit on the point that even once (if) funding is restored, the effects of the slowdown (sequestration) will linger and further delay scientific progress.  They also point out the problem my generation faces… that too many of us are leaving the field because there is no money and too much uncertainty.  As a result, “This loss of human resources will take many years to replace” and thus, we will be even further behind in our progress. 

The article concludes with the biggest danger of budget cuts: The loss of hope.  “Many patients don’t have time to wait a few years for breakthroughs. Disease does not wait for an economic recovery.”

Too real.  What’s perhaps most upsetting to me is that these types of articles have to be written.  The smartest researchers, the dedicated scientists, the hardworking physicians instead of focusing on their work, are essentially forced to write oped pieces, bug their members of congress, speak out for their cause… which is really our cause.  

It’s a bit ironic isn’t it?  That we, medical researchers, are trying to convince people to give us funding, so we can conduct research, develop cures and therapies, and then go back and take care of those very same people?