Blog: Decoding the Research

Funding for medical research more important than ever

Published: September 4th, 2013

Study shows loss of federal investment in research is forcing scientists to abandon scientific careers and halting scientific progress

The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, with 15 partner organizations, has released a report documenting the effects of the decrease in US federal spending on our ability to conduct research. And the news is not good.

Scientific research has always been a bipartisan endeavor – our ability to conduct research helps all Americans and is a major factor in our role as a global leader. But, the past few years have seen a drastic cut in federal investment in research with potential lasting repercussions for US-driven scientific advancement.

  • From 2002-2010, federal research funding remained flat (considering inflation). Since 2010, we have reduced our purchasing power by 20%.
  • NIH purchasing power has dropped 14% compared to 2004 levels.
  • Of the top 10 global leaders in research investment, the US is the only country to reduce its investment in scientific research as a percentage of GDP since 2011.

The results of this decreasing trend are real. Young scientists cannot find funding to begin promising careers. Junior researchers are losing funding, and being forced to abandon their scientific careers. Long-term research projects are being halted and new projects are on the sidelines, waiting to begin. Read the full report here:

Here are some critical statistics laid out by the ASBMB:

  • Private investment in academic research has been feeble. Only 2 percent of survey respondents have been able to find private funds to make up for those lost from federal grants.
  • More than two thirds of survey respondents do not have the funds to expand their research operations, postponing important scientific advances in all fields.Research jobs have been lost. 
  • Nearly half of survey respondents have laid off researchers and 55 percent have a colleague who has lost his/her job. 
  • An overwhelming majority of scientists in all fields believes the U.S. has lost its position as the global leader in scientific research.

The American Association for Cancer Research is hosting Rally for Medical Research Hill Day with more than 150 partnering organizations (including Uniting Against Lung Cancer) on September 18th, in time for the FY 2014 appropriations bill discussions in Congress. You can learn more at Tell your Congressional representatives that medical research funding is a priority.

But there’s more you can do. Uniting Against Lung Cancer’s research programs aim to fill those gaps, and provide resources for our brightest innovators to pursue careers in lung cancer research and conduct the crucial research needed to save lives. The government may be slow to change, but we are able to fund critically needed research today.

Click here to donate and support lung cancer research.

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