Star Tribune Editorial is on the Mark: 'A Slackened Commitment to Research Could Not Have Worse Timing'

brianhunsicker

The Minneapolis Star Tribune ran a recent editorial supportive of medical research; though it appeared last week, it’s still worth sharing.

The editorial, “Worst possible time to cut research,” ran July 30.

Medical research is an important topic for Minnesota. In FY11, the state ranked 17th in awards and 12th in funding from the National Institutes of Health, thanks mostly to two organizations.

The University of Minnesota, in downtown Minneapolis, earned 583 NIH awards and more than $264 million in funding. Eighty-five miles to the south, in Rochester, the Mayo Clinic (a Research!America member) earned 370 awards and more than $200 million in funding. The state is also home to a thriving medical device industry (including Medtronic, the world’s largest medical technology company) and UnitedHealth Group.

Research and health matters to Minnesotans, and that’s reflected in the editorial.

“In the agricultural Midwest, there’s a term for what policy makers are mulling for medical research,” the editorial board writes. “It’s called ‘eating your seed corn’ — a move that brings short-term gain while jeopardizing the future. And while it’s never good policy, a slackened commitment to research could not have worse timing.

“China, Singapore, Great Britain and others are bolstering their financial commitment to life-science research, hoping to wrest away high-tech industries and high-paying jobs. The United States must maintain its lead amid fierce new competition. It also needs the half-million good-paying jobs linked to NIH funding.

“Those funding recommendations represent more than a dollar figure. They reflect a nation’s priorities. Difficult spending decisions must be made, but thoughtless cuts could wind up ‘relegating us to a different place,’ said University of Minnesota Medical School Dean Dr. Aaron Friedman. ‘Is that what we want to have happen?'”

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We have health challenges in this country that science will provide answers for if given the chance and we haven't given science that opportunity
Mary Woolley, President and CEO, Research!America