Statement of Research!America President and CEO Mary Woolley on President Biden’s Address to Joint Session of Congress
Research!America applauds the emphasis President Biden placed on research, science, and technology in his address to Congress Wednesday night. We strongly agree with his statement that a greater share of our economy must be devoted to R&D and appreciate the Administration’s already-demonstrated commitment to supporting the investments needed to fuel faster medical, health, and scientific progress.
Public and private sector innovation are key to speeding desperately needed therapies and cures to patients across our nation and around the world. Proposals such as ARPA-H and other initiatives to bolster research and development are indicative of a forward-thinking approach to tackling threats — existing, emergent, and as yet unknown — to Americans and populations across the globe.
We also believe it is essential that such proposals augment robust funding increases for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and our nation’s other research and public health agencies. These agencies will play a pivotal role in confronting priorities such as advancing health equity and unlocking the basic knowledge needed to out-innovate deadly and debilitating health threats. As it stands, less than 25% of the promising research grant proposals NIH receives can be funded. We support complementary efforts to both bolster the NIH budget by at least 10% and foster new approaches as envisioned under the ARPA-H model.
It is also vitally important that we continue to focus on the detrimental effects of COVID-19 on our nation’s basic and clinical research ecosystem. Research recovery funding is needed to help fill the gaps created by COVID-19. Further delays in vital research mean losing critical progress toward innovations and discoveries that can deliver hope; for far too many Americans, COVID-19 is a health threat on top of many others they have been battling for years and, perhaps, all of their lives.
We look forward to working with the Administration and congressional champions on these key priorities.