science

Dear Research Advocate: During his State of the Union address Tuesday, President Obama acknowledged the important role federally funded research plays in maintaining our global competitive edge and referenced the harm done to basic science by sequestration. Using the example of vaccines, he highlighted the importance of applied research, not only for our health but for the strength of our economy. See my statement about the address here . For the president to succeed in achieving a ’€œbreakthrough year for America’€ ’€” a theme in his address that he is repeating in appearances across the nation ’€” we urge him to put science and innovation at the forefront. I emphasized this in a letter...
January 29, 2014 It’s heartening President Obama chose to emphasize in his speech the significance of federally funded basic research and the need to undo the damage that has been done to it in recent years with deep spending cuts. The president used language the science community epitomizes – he spoke of working for “breakthroughs” and a nation motivated by opportunity. But actions speak louder than words. Congress and the White House must treat research and innovation as the health and economic imperative it has always been and invest in expanding our nation’s research capacity. It bears on business and job creation in both the research and manufacturing sectors; it bears on our nation’s...
Dear Research Advocate: The omnibus appropriations bill about to become law demonstrates that bipartisanship and pseudo -regular order is achievable. We won’€™t know for sure if we have true ’€œregular order’€ until Congress proceeds through the FY15 appropriations process in a timely manner ’€” something that hasn’€™t happened for many years. The importance of regular order is that the public’€™s interests are heard from in hearings, and every Member of Congress participates in priority-setting instead of only having the opportunity to cast a single up-or-down vote. Regular order is worth working toward, since at least one priority we all care about did not fare well in the omnibus. The...
Dear Research Advocate: Following the lead of Budget Chairs Murray (D-WA) and Ryan (R-WI-01), Appropriations Chairs Mikulski (D-MD) and Rogers (R-KY-05) are trying to end the recent string of continuing resolutions and craft a funding compromise that advances the nation’€™s best interests. Congress may miss its January 15 deadline for appropriations, but it won’€™t likely shut down the government. We anticipate a short-term extension of the deadline while appropriators in both chambers work to craft an omnibus bill that reflects today’€™s priorities instead of blind, across-the-board cuts. It’€™s about time, you’€™re thinking (and I agree!) that Congress gets back to ’€œregular order.’€...
Dear Research Advocate: The end of the year is a good time to think ahead and consider our nation at the end of the decade; how will we fare in the world order? My letter this week to the editor of the New York Times highlights poll data indicating that Americans don’€™t believe the U.S. will be the world leader in science and technology by 2020. This data reflects opinions grounded in numerous media reports on China’s accomplishments and determination to lead the world in science. Chinese accomplishments in space of late and their plans for a space station in 2020 ought to be a 21st century “Sputnik moment” for the U.S. It should be a wake-up call to policy makers: get serious about...
Dear Research Advocate: Here’€™s a holiday surprise! I am not referring to the budget deal, but to the fact that Merriam-Webster’€™s 2013 word of the year ’€” determined via the greatest increase in online searches ’€” is “science.” I find this to be refreshing news, providing evidence that interest in science is growing, which in turn is an indication of substantial room for researchers and research advocates to contribute to public understanding and support of science. We appear to have an opportunity ready for the taking to overcome the “invisibility” problem that contributes to holding decision makers back from assigning a higher priority to science. And speaking of those decision...
By Alan G. Kraut, Executive Director of the Association for Psychological Science In the minds of many people, there is a separation between biomedical research and behavioral research. But that separation is artificial. Behavior is at the core of many health problems. Six out of 10 of the leading causes of premature death, including heart disease, diabetes, and stroke, are linked in part to genetic influences but also to controllable behaviors like physical inactivity, poor diet and smoking. Our 25,000 members are scientists and educators at the nation’€™s universities and colleges, conducting federally funded basic and applied, theoretical, and clinical research. They look at such things...
Dear Research Advocate: Research!America, in partnership with the American Society of Hematology, released a new poll on Tuesday, revealing strong feelings about the consequences of recent fiscal debacles. A majority (57%) of Americans, across party lines, believe that the government shutdown in October caused significant harm to programs like medical research, defense and education, programs that Americans value. It is not difficult to connect the dots between fiscal dysfunction and the future of our nation: More Americans than ever believe that our nation’€™s global leadership in science, technology and research will soon be a thing of the past,with 73% saying we will lose global...
New National Poll Reveals Many Respondents Predict China will Surpass U.S. in Science and Innovation by 2020 ALEXANDRIA, Va.’€”December 3, 2013’€”Nearly two-thirds (65%) of Americans say it’€™s likely there will be another government shutdown in the months ahead as Congress continues to debate deficit and budget issues, according to a new national public opinion poll commissioned by Research!America and the American Society of Hematology. This sentiment is shared across party affiliations: Democrats (66%), Republicans (65%) and Independents (65%). There is also consensus across party lines that government dysfunction has consequences. A majority of Americans (57%) say the shutdown in...
Dear Research Advocate: It has been a week since the Budget Conference Committee’€™s first meeting. The next public meeting is scheduled for November 13. Staffs are at work, and various Members are talking. There are no concrete signs of progress. What I keep coming back to is the failure of our nation’€™s decision makers to recognize and act on the reality that the priorities of Americans are reflected in both discretionary and entitlement programs. The persistence of sequestration underscores Congress’€™ inability to make decisions and choose priorities. The sequestration era has run its course, dealing Congress record lows in terms of public support; it’€™s past time to end the era and...

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Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed.
Abraham Lincoln