By Peter Hotez, M.D, Ph.D. and Neal Lane, Ph.D.
The flattening in support for biomedical research as well as other research fields in the United States over the last decade is having serious consequences for American science and scientists. Ultimately, we need a new generation of scientist-advocates and policy experts if we expect to reverse this trend.
The losses are real. The most recent news is that through sequestration there is a looming $1.6 billion cut to the budget of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), by far the largest public funder of biomedical research. Since 2003, the NIH budget has risen only 15 percent to just over $30 billion. Even before sequestration (taking inflation into account) the NIH provides 20 percent less in support for biomedical research annually than it used to 10 years ago.
Dr. Peter Hotez is President of the Sabin Vaccine Institute. In addition Drs. Hotez and Lane are fellows of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University. Prof. Hotez is also dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital endowed chair in Tropical Pediatrics; and Prof. Lane is the Malcolm Gillis University professor at Rice University and past director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Clinton Administration and past director of the National Science Foundation.