Making NIH Funding Part of the Election Discussion

As funding and budgets flat line at the National Institutes of Health, science organizations are hoping to make NIH funding part of the election discussion. In a smart way, they are framing the issue in terms of social progress with the catchphrase "Science Cures," making personally relevant the value of basic research. Below is a press release from FASEB announcing their new election-oriented Web site at


Bethesda, MD - The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) has launched an exciting, new voter education initiative, ScienceCures (, aimed at raising the profile of federal funding for biomedical research among the candidates and the general public. "When Presidential candidates are making speeches or answering questions about health and health care, we want to make sure that the National Institutes of Health and medical research are an integral part of that discussion," said Robert Palazzo, Ph.D., FASEB President. "Federal funding of biomedical research should be a high priority for the nation in 2008 and beyond."

ScienceCures.orgs encourages scientists to become engaged in calling on our leaders to reinvigorate national investment in scientific research through a variety of tools and resources. Through the website, researchers and members of the public can contact the candidates, write letters to their local media outlets, sign a pledge to educate candidates and elected officials about the importance of federal funding of research, and even register to vote. "The recent standoff between Congress and the President over appropriations for science agencies, including NIH and NSF, has emphasized the integral role of the Administration in securing science funding," Palazzo continued. "Over the course of the next year, will give scientists the opportunity to express their support for medical research in the context of the election while educating voters about the connection between today's science and tomorrow's medical advances."

The site includes a number of resources emphasizing the benefits of biomedical research, including a number of interactive features designed to provide key facts about medical research, at both the national and local level. In addition to mobilizing the scientific community through the website, FASEB is working to highlight the importance of medical research among all Presidential candidates. "FASEB will be providing all candidates and their campaigns with information about the role NIH and biomedical research play in improving the health of the nation, as well as engaging moderators and sponsors of Presidential debates, and alerting the media to critical national issues related to medical research," said Palazzo. "Millions of Americans are suffering from the pain and burden of disease. Promising them hope for a better tomorrow through medical research is a message our leaders and prospective leaders should be embracing."

FASEB is composed of 21 societies with more than 80,000 members, making it the largest coalition of biomedical research associations in the United States. FASEB enhances the ability of biomedical and life scientists to improve--through their research--the health, well-being and productivity of all people. FASEB's mission is to advance biological science through collaborative advocacy for research policies that promote scientific progress and education and lead to improvements in human health.

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Sounds like a great site with a lot of potential! Putting pressure from the grass roots up can be a tough chore, but it can be done!
Dave Briggs :~)

Here's a thought, cut the internal NIH budget for supplies and equipment by 25% and pass that money on to researchers. Anyone who has been in research for some time has heard the stories from friends inside the NIH. The last minute buying blitzes of new microfuges, new microscopes, the "Gold" taq for everyday PCR, etc.

Okay, 25% might be a bit much. But, I'm betting we could lop off 10% and see no real difference.