Indiana Residents See Economic Value of Medical Research

But Say State Is Not Yet a Leader, Majority Support Embryonic Stem Cell Research
Thursday, November 17, 2005

INDIANAPOLIS—Nov. 17, 2005—Indiana residents almost universally support investment in scientific research as a driver for the state's economy but think their state is not yet a leader in this area, according to a newly released state poll commissioned by Research!America.

Among the survey findings were:

  • Fully 96% say investment in scientific research is important to job creation in Indiana.
  • 95% believe scientific research is important to the state's economy overall.
  • 85% approve of financial incentives to attract research-related companies to Indiana.
  • 98% say Indiana should be a leader in medical and health research; fewer than half (44%) say it is.

"This poll proves that Hoosiers understand the important impact that health and technology research has on Indiana's economy and overwhelmingly support our state's efforts in those fields," Sen. Evan Bayh said. "Indiana's leadership in health and medical research means new jobs for Hoosiers, and our advances in these industries provide better health care for all Americans. With this level of support, Indiana should continue playing a key role in medical breakthroughs well into the future."

The Indiana Business Research Center estimates that more than 578,000 jobs-19% of the state's employment-are generated directly by biopharmaceutical, medical device and instrument, and health care delivery businesses and indirectly by companies who do business with these firms. Moreover, residents employed by the state's health industry earn wages higher than the state's average.

A number of states have begun to consider the potential of stem cell research for economic development. A majority of Indiana residents (62%) are in favor of research into therapeutic cloning, or cloning to help search for possible cures and treatments for diseases and disabilities. However, 85% say research into reproductive cloning-cloning technology to create a child-should not be allowed to go forward.

"We have seen similar levels of support for therapeutic cloning and embryonic stem cell research in our national polls and polls in other states," said Mary Woolley, president of Research!America. "Indiana residents, like most Americans, see the potential this research holds to discover potential cures for a range of diseases and chronic conditions."

While Indiana residents see the value in research for their state, few know where it is conducted. Just 39% can name an institution in Indiana that conducts medical and health research.

"Indiana is home to a number of the world's best companies whose businesses are medical and scientific research, and we have some of the best research universities in the country," said Research!America Board Member Gail H. Cassell, PhD, vice president of scientific affairs and Lilly research scholar for infectious diseases, for Indiana-based Eli Lilly and Company. "This poll shows that Indiana residents want our state to be a leader in scientific research and see the value it brings to our economy, but we need to do a better job communicating to the public that research is happening right in our backyard."

Nearly all Indiana residents (97%) say it is important for the United States to maintain its position as a global leader in medical and health research. Other poll findings include:

  • 63% say our national commitment to health-related research should be higher.
  • Half (49%) say we should spend more on medical and health research than the current five to six cents of every health dollar.
  • Two-thirds (66%) believe preventable diseases are a major health problem in this country.
  • 94% say it is important to study why some health problems disproportionately affect low income and minority citizens and to find ways to end those differences.

About Research!America
Research!America is the nation's largest not-for-profit public education and advocacy alliance working to make medical and health research-including research to prevent disease, disability and injury and to promote health-a much higher national priority. Research!America has been gauging Americans' attitudes toward medical and health research for more than a decade.

Research!America commissioned Charlton Research Company to conduct the poll by telephone with 800 Indiana residents, ages 18 and over, in December 2004. The entire sample was proportionate to the state's demographics, including geography, gender, voter registration and ethnicity. The results have a statistical precision of ± 3.5 percentage points of polling the entire adult population of Indiana.

 

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Robert Shalett
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571-482-2737

Funding research gives all of us a better chance of living a healthier life.
Pam Hirata, heart disease survivor