Poised for big breakthroughs, US scientists find dwindling support
With the midterm elections now behind us, we could not help but notice that one crucial policy issue was not considered in a serious or thoughtful way on the campaign trail: today’s woeful funding shortfalls in science.
The American research enterprise, long the world’s gold standard for scientific progress, is at risk of slipping behind. For over a decade, the federal government has pulled back financial support for biomedical research. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget has failed even to keep pace with the cost of conducting research; factoring in inflation, it has declined 24 percent since 2003. Yes, we need to shrink the federal deficit, but by targeting research spending, this country risks trading a budgetary deficit for a discovery deficit.