research funding

Dear Research Advocate: I am especially pleased to report that the House passed the Labor-H/Defense FY19 appropriations conference report yesterday, by a vote of 361-61. The President has said he will sign the bill, thus avoiding a partial government shutdown with its myriad negative consequences (including the toll on medical and public health progress). Please do as we have and say thank you to Congressional leadership for passing this bill in timely fashion, with funding that supports putting research to work to find the solutions to what ails us. Of particular note, the bill includes a $2 billion increase for NIH, as well as increases for other federal health agencies under HHS auspices...
Dear Research Advocate: The House Appropriations Committee released its FY19 Labor-HHS funding bill earlier today for subcommittee markup tomorrow morning . A few notes on the bill: NIH received $38.3 billion -- an additional $1.25 billion over the FY18 level -- and AHRQ received $334 million -- the same funding level as FY18. After accounting for anticipated, one-time changes to the total (including the transfer of the strategic national stockpile to the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness), CDC received a $427 million funding increase. Given that the highly constrained dollars the “Labor-H” Subcommittee had to work with, the NIH, AHRQ and CDC results are definitely a...
Dear Research Advocate: In considering resolutions for the coming year, I am reminded that resolution connotes action . I am optimistic that 2018 will be a year of action, a year in which research and innovation amp up our economy, even as they lead to better health and quality of life. Congress will respond to advocates if we all take action and amp up our efforts — it’s an election year, after all! Love it or loathe it, tax reform has set the stage for additional action to drive the economy. In addition to passing a bipartisan budget deal that lifts spending caps for both defense and non-defense discretionary funding, and repealing or suspending the medical device tax, Congress and the...
There was a time when people didn’t know that suicide is preventable. Before suicide prevention research began in earnest, people were afraid to even talk about suicide, because they thought they could cause someone to die by suicide if they spoke the word: that it would put the idea in their head, and the person in distress would act on it. The only time the brain was even mentioned was if there was physical damage to the brain as the result of a suicide attempt. People placed social judgments on those with mental health conditions because they didn’t understand that the brain is an organ that can be remedied, just like other organs. Research, a guided process of inquiry, has led us to...
Research!America is hosting a digital advocacy initiative on September 11–12 to urge Congress to #RaisetheCaps during negotiations of the FY18 budget. The 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA) established austerity-level federal spending, and in FY18 the sequestration budget caps or automatic spending cuts for federal agencies will be back in full force. This will tie policymakers’ hands and stall major projects ranging from supercomputers to biohazard labs that researchers need to effectively prevent emerging epidemics, develop the next generation of super materials, and find the links between genes and disease. It is crucial that advocates raise their voices now and convince Congress to #...
Dear Research Advocate: This afternoon I participated in a stimulating forum on “Transformational Imperatives,” hosted by the Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute at the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. Board members and friends of the Institute engaged speakers on topics of the moment; in fact, my presentation was all about the moment, i.e., “Research in Context.” Scientific opportunities can be enabled or derailed by our elected representatives, who determine funding and policies-- which is to say, a major part of the ‘context’ of research. While they don’t do their decision-making in a vacuum, it can seem like that, especially when scientists and all of us...
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the “crown jewel of federal spending,” said Dr. Keith Yamamoto at a Capitol Hill briefing sponsored by the Coalition for the Life Sciences and the Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus on July 14 titled, NIH 101: An Introduction to the National Institutes of Health. Yamamoto, vice chancellor for research at the University of California, San Francisco and Research!America board member, was the featured speaker at the event, sponsored by the Coalition for Life Sciences and the Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus. He discussed the mission and budget of the NIH, as well as the rigorous scientific review process that ensures the budget achieves...
Investing in basic science helps fuel the U.S. economy and society in general. However, as science investments stagnate, there’s a growing concern that other countries will outpace the U.S. in research and development. The American Association for the Advancement of Science hosted a panel discussion February 22 highlighting 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 is a collection of scientific advances written by researchers that highlight the role basic science plays in innovation. “If we don’t make the investments [in research], we short ourselves and even more...
Dear Research Advocate, Tomorrow, our 45th U.S. President will be inaugurated. The challenge and opportunity that President Trump - and all our elected representatives - face is to ensure that the next four years deliver better health, safety and prosperity. I hope President Trump’s inaugural address signals that his Administration will leverage research and innovation to meet our nation’s normative and strategic objectives. With NIH, CDC, AHRQ and FDA under the purview of the Department of Health and Human Services, the new Secretary will influence the nature and pace of medical progress, the capability of our public health infrastructure, and other critical science-relevant variables in...
Dear Research Advocate: While Senate leadership had originally planned to pass a continuing resolution (CR) this week and leave town, negotiations are ongoing. Odds still are that a short-term CR providing $1.1 billion in emergency Zika funding will be signed into law before the 9/30/16 deadline. We’ll keep you posted. The 21st Century Cures Initiative (Cures) is on hold once again. Earlier today, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton’s (R-MI-06) staff reported progress on a compromise bill crafted to pass both houses of Congress this year, but said it will not be considered until after the elections. Cures advocacy may have a “rock of Sisyphus” feel to it, but there’s...

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Without continued support for health research, many of the most promising young scientists, their ideas and a myriad of potentially life-changing scientific breakthroughs will vanish into oblivion.
Paul Marinec, PhD; University of California San Francisco