As science investments stagnate, there’s a growing concern other countries could outpace the U.S. in research and development. Basic research has led to countless scientific breakthroughs including the MRI, a machine widely used for diagnostic medical imaging, and, more recently, the development of a promising Ebola vaccine, which is now in early phases of testing.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) hosted a panel discussion February 22 addressing the benefits of basic research in a new report, “The Future Postponed 2.0: Why Declining Investment in Basic Research Threatens a U.S. Innovation Deficit.” The report, a collection of research studies that could lead to major breakthroughs, says increased financial support of basic science will ensure the U.S. remains the leader in global innovation.
“If we don’t make the investments [in research], we short ourselves and even more we shortchange future generations,” said Rush Holt, Ph.D., CEO of AAAS and Research!America board member, the moderator of the discussion.
Maria Zuber, Ph.D., chair of the National Science Board and E.A. Griswold professor of geophysics and vice president for research at MIT, described basic science as the grounding on which advances in applied research and development can be made.
Other speakers at the event were Michel Pagano, M.D., chair of the department of biochemistry and molecular pharmacology at the New York University School of Medicine; Marc Kastner, Ph.D., the president of the Science Philanthropy Alliance; and Andrea Ghez, Ph.D., distinguished professor of physics & astronomy and head of UCLA's Galactic Center Group. For the full report visit www.futurepostponed.org/.