Bailing out life science

Life sciences will indeed receive a boost in funding in President-Elect Barack Obama's sprawling economic recovery plan, according to figures from the House Appropriations Committee released today. A statement from the committee says that the National Institutes of Health will get $2 billion, the National Science Foundation will receive $3 billion, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will get $462 million. As the 111th Congress squabbled over the finer points of the recovery pack

By | January 15, 2009

Life sciences will indeed receive a boost in funding in President-Elect Barack Obama's sprawling economic recovery plan, according to figures from the House Appropriations Committee released today. A statement from the committee says that the National Institutes of Health will get $2 billion, the National Science Foundation will receive $3 billion, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will get $462 million. As the 111th Congress squabbled over the finer points of the recovery package, science advocacy and trade organizations voiced their hopes and rallied their membership to ensure that research is not forgotten in the latest efforts to rally the flagging US economy. The figures put forth by the Appropriation Committee fall short of the wish lists put forth by many of these groups. The clearest voice clamoring for increased funding at government life science agencies has come from Research!America. The science advocacy group suggested that an infusion of $11.1 billion would resuscitate agencies such as the NIH, NSF and the CDC. The group sent a linkurl:letter;http://www.researchamerica.org/uploads/economicrecoveryltr.pdf in December to Obama asking that NIH be given an $8.6 billion boost while NSF and CDC get $1.4 billion and $1 billion, respectively. The Society for Neuroscience has assembled a nice little linkurl:fact sheet;http://www.sfn.org/SiteObjects/published/0000BDF20016F63800FD712C30FA42DD/28EBBA026DAA9F18F9FA32A2991D17BE/file/NIH%20economic%20fact%20sheet.pdf on how investing in the NIH can translate directly to economic stimulation. Highlights from that document: "In 2007, NIH grants and contracts created and supported more than 350,000 jobs that generated wages in excess of $18 billion in the 50 states." "Every dollar of NIH funding generated more than twice as much in state economic output: an overall investment of $22.846 billion from NIH generated a total of $50.537 billion in new state business in the form of increased output of goods and services." The Massachusetts Life Sciences Collaborative meanwhile has sought the support of Democratic Senators Edward Kennedy and John Kerry in boosting the NIH budget. By the collaborative's calculations, each NIH grant yields seven new jobs and each NIH dollar spent is worth two in economic impact. Research and development focused on energy and technology is also set to receive a slice of whatever science funding is included in the multi-billion dollar package. New Jersey Democratic Congressman Rush Holt recently said, at a meeting with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), other legislators and prominent scientists, that R&D investments "are not luxuries to be engaged in in plush times, but rather the basis for economic growth [and] economic prosperity." The Appropriation Committee's numbers indicate that the Department of Energy would get $1.9 billion, NASA would get $600 million, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology would get $300 million, under the current plan. Congress is expected to pass the Obama recovery package sometime in February. We'll see how well life science makes out.
**__Related stories:__***linkurl:$500 million NIH funds boost?;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/55016/
[17th September 2008]*linkurl:Boost for NSF funding;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54756/
[19th June 2008]
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Comments

Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 125

January 15, 2009

As long as the U.S. federal government is bailing out the Wall Street corporate banks and the Detroit automakers whose upper managers make far more than the scientists, while their companies bleed and go bankrupt, it would be unfair, immoral, and unprogressive not to do the same for the research science community.
Avatar of: Joan Burkholder

Joan Burkholder

Posts: 11

January 16, 2009

If scientists and the company's that support their work got the bailout that banks and the auto industry are getting. We would likely have scaled Mt. Everest by yeaterday.\nMy company is one of the firms that design and manufacture the tools used by researchers to perform their work. As an example a bailout for us would not be a bailout. Four million,a mere pittance by comparison, to a company like ours would escallate into thousands of researchers developing scientific and medical breakthroughs. This is a longterm advancement to benefit the world not to mention the boost to the economy.
Avatar of: Tara Herrmann

Tara Herrmann

Posts: 1

January 16, 2009

Its not actually a boost in funding but rather flat funding. If Obama actually gives this amount on what is already budgeted the NIH still expects that it will have to fund less grants due to the current cost of research.
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 23

January 16, 2009

2 Billions are better than nothing, and it would even better if this money is used wisely to support new scientists.

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