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Dear Research Advocate, In a n important piece in The Guardian , Eric Topol, MD, founder and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, compellingly lays out the case for a renewed sense of urgency in the response to COVID-19. From growing infection rates to waning immunity, Dr. Topol walks readers through the myriad reasons supporting his conclusion: “Rather than giving up, it is time to double down on innovations that have a high likelihood of anticipating the further evolution of the virus and facilitating the end of the pandemic.” W hile the Senate passed a supplemental package of military aid for Ukraine this afternoon, Congress is still debating urgently needed COVID-19...
Dear Research Advocate, The title of a 1997 report, “ Worlds Apart : How the Distance Between Science and Journalism Threatens America’s Future,” is as relevant today as it was then , and it’s still a good read. Television journalist Jim Hartz, who died last week , was the author. Jim was vexed by the interplay between the media’s lack of interest in science and the research community’s weakness in communicating with the public; and he decried the decline in federal science funding as a share of our economy — realities that challenge us to this day. Research!America worked with Jim to strengthen the links between journalism schools and graduate science schools; this is still...
Dear Research Advocate, Across the political spectrum, Americans agree it is important for the U.S. to be a global leader in health research (85%) and in science and technology (89%), according to data from our newly released national survey . More than 8 in 10, across party identification, say investing in research is important to economic growth (83%) and important to creating jobs (85%). More than 7 in 10 say COVID-19 is a disruptive event calling for assigning a higher priority to S&T in the U.S. (71%). There is also bipartisan agreement that basic research which advances the frontiers of knowledge should be supported by the federal government (83%). It is important to make...
Dear Research Advocate, It’s tempting to feel overwhelmed and/or helpless in the new year given headlines of disease, dysfunction, and discord. But even as Omicron exacts a toll and Congress struggles for consensus, it is critical to keep in mind that more unites than divides us. In the words of Dr. Francis Collins in an NPR interview last month, “Medical research should never be partisan... You want to find answers to medical problems that are threatening yourself or your family or your community or your constituents. We’re all in this together, wanting solutions to what ails us. To overcome health threats that affect us all, we must stay united in common cause to raise the priority of...
Dear Research Advocate, Welcome to our last letter of 2021. It's been a packed year; one marked by continued challenges along with strong doses of progress and opportunity. Washington is slowing down; it’s a time to gather our strength to face the year ahead with boldness and vigor. The House and Senate adjourned for the year without enacting Build Back Better legislation or completing this year’s appropriations. We ask you to join us as we continue to urge Congress to pass FY22 appropriations as soon as possible. Today is day 83 of operating under an outdated budget. Every day without a new budget stymies lifesaving medical and public health progress. Progress, Challenges: Even while we...
Dear Research Advocate, A year ago this week, the first COVID-19 vaccine was administered in the U.S. (outside of a clinical trial). Tragically, more than 800,000 individuals have died of COVID-19 in the U.S. alone, but an estimated 1.1 million lives in the U.S. have been saved because of the accelerated vaccination effort. The unprecedented feat of developing a vaccine in less than 12 months demonstrates the incredible power of research coupled with public health rigor and vigilance. We need more of both, without delay. Just the Facts: In pandemic response, the knowledge gained from real-time public health response and ongoing research (when that knowledge isn’t exploited for political or...
Dear Research Advocate, “Medical research should never be partisan. It should never get caught up in culture wars or tribal disagreements,” said Francis Collins, MD, PhD, in an interview this week. As Dr. Collins prepares to complete his tenure as NIH Director, he’s sharing lessons learned and advice for the future on issues including science communication and health inequities. There’s another important conversation with Dr. Collins in JAMA. We are deeply honored that Dr. Collins will join us at our 2022 Advocacy Awards program on March 16 to receive the John Edward Porter Legacy Award, generously supported by Ann Lurie . It was announced today that Lawrence A. Tabak, DDS, PhD, a highly...
Dear Research Advocate, The emergence of the Omicron variant underscores the urgency of R&D funding, not only to assure the success of the fight against the constantly evolving SARS-Cov-2, but to prepare for the next pandemic and vanquish other health threats. In an essay in The New York Times , Ashish Jha, MD, MPH, Dean of the School of Public Health at Brown University, speaks to the importance of acting swiftly, not giving in to fear or indifference, and utilizing the tools we have built over the past few years. (Dr. Jha will be joining us for a special discussion on Monday; details below.) But it’s difficult to act swiftly when passage of FY22 funding is still on hold. On the Hill:...
Dear Research Advocate, On the Hill: A number of research-related initiatives are in the mix — including major, multi-year investments in NSF and pandemic preparedness — as negotiations continue on the content and price tag of the reconciliation bill, also known as Build Back Better. The bill is distinct from the annual appropriations process, which has been put on hold until December 3 via a continuing resolution (CR). Readers of this letter will likely agree Congress should not wait until December before enacting a new budget for FY22. It is not possible to put debilitating health threats on hold, and meanwhile, early career researchers are again wondering whether their work will have a...
Dear Research Advocate, On the Hill: The House has begun its August recess while the Senate remains in session. After attempting to pass a bipartisan infrastructure bill, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) plans to take up a budget resolution containing the topline number the Senate will use to allocate FY22 appropriations. No text has been released yet, but adopting a budget resolution will allow Senate appropriators to advance their FY22 spending bills with concrete numbers. We’ll continue to keep you informed. ARPA-H: Research!America provided comments during an ARPA-H listening session with NIH and OSTP leaders yesterday. As Ellie Dehoney, our VP of Policy and Advocacy, stated...

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Abraham Lincoln