Posts Tagged ‘government funding’

2015 NIH Budget Falls Short of Expectations

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 12-17-2014

In 2013 the buzzword for the state of affairs for scientific funding in the US was sequestration. That year saw huge hits to American government funding of the NIH and other scientific endeavors that severely hampered research activities throughout the country. In 2014, there was a slight increase in life science funding, however, it was not enough to put American research back on track to where the NIH hoped it would be. While scientists remain hopeful that 2015 will be the year of recovery, a bill released last week by the Senate Spending Subcommittee seems to suggest otherwise.

While organizations such as NASA and the National Science Foundation will be receiving increases of $364 million and $172 million respectively, the NIH will be receiving an increase of $150 million which falls quite a bit short of what is needed to fund America’s largest health sciences granting agency. To further add insult to injury, the 0.5% increase still leaves the agency with less funding than it had prior to the 2013 sequestration.

The few research areas that will benefit from the 2015 budget include $1.2 Billion for the National Institute of Aging and $238 Million for Ebola research.

Some other notable areas of funding include:

  • $787 Million for AIDS prevention and research
  • $352 Million for Cancer prevention and control
  • $140 Million for diabetes
  • $130 Million for heart and stroke
  • $47 Million for Autism research
  • $13.8 Million for Heritable disease research
  • $3.3 Million for Alzheimer’s research

New Study: Funding Science is Good for the US Economy

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 04-04-2014

University research is a key component of the US economic ecosystem, returning the investment through enormous public value and impact on employment, business, and manufacturing nationwide.

Using new data available to examine the short-term economic activity generated by science funding, researchers have for the first time been able to illuminate the breadth of the scientific workforce and the national impact of the research supply chain that is funded by federal grants.

Most of the workers supported by federal research funding are not university faculty members. In fact, fewer than one in five workers supported by federal funding are faculty researchers. The study, published this week in the journal Science, provides the first detailed information about the short-term economic impacts of federal research spending, the researchers said.

Using a new data set, the researchers also found that each university that receives funding spends those dollars throughout the United States – about 70 percent spent outside their home states – supporting companies both large and small.

The researchers conclude that federal funding has a wider impact than is often assumed. “The process of scientific research supports organizations and jobs in many of the high skill sectors of our economy,” the researchers wrote in Science.

The study was conducted by researchers from the American Institute of Research, the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, University of Michigan, University of Chicago, and the Ohio State University. The data came from the STAR METRICS project, which is a partnership between federal science agencies and research institutions to document the outcomes of science investments to the public.

In this study, the researchers examined STAR METRICS data from nine universities – Michigan, Wisconsin-Madison, Minnesota, Ohio State, Northwestern, Purdue, Michigan State, Chicago and Indiana (all members of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation consortium).

The universities in this study received about $7 billion in total research and development funding in 2012, and about 56 percent of that came from the federal government.

One key insight from the study was whose jobs were supported by federal funding. “Workers with many different skill levels are employed, and these are not primarily faculty,” the authors said.

Faculty members accounted for fewer than 20 percent of the people supported by federal funding. About one in three workers is either a graduate student or an undergraduate. One in three is either research staff or a staff scientist, and about one in ten is a post-doctoral fellow.

The study also sheds light on where universities spend the federal funding they receive. In 2012, almost $1 billion of research expenditures were spent with U.S. vendors and subcontractors.

Of those expenditures, 15 percent went to vendors in the university’s home county, 15 percent in the rest of the home state and the balance to vendors across the United States.

The researchers noted that universities bought goods and services from a wide range of contractors in a variety of industries: everything from test tubes to telescopes and microscopes to gene sequencing machines.

Many of the purchases came from large U.S companies. But as the researchers examined the websites of some of the tens of thousands of vendors, “we were struck by how many are small, niche, high-technology companies…” they wrote.

Noting the scope of the impact of scientific work being done across universities, co-author Roy Weiss, Deputy Provost for Research at the University of Chicago, said, “Research universities are dedicated to the discovery of new knowledge. This study reports the first cooperative endeavor by multiple universities to evaluate the benefit of government investment in research. In addition to making the world a better place by virtue of these discoveries, we now have data to support the overall benefits to society.”

“The main purpose of science funding isn’t as a jobs or stimulus program, but this study shows there are also major short-term economic benefits to science funding,” said Bruce Weinberg, co-author and professor of economics at Ohio State.

As Julia Lane, Senior Managing Economist at the American Institutes for Research and a lead researcher on the project, summarized, “This study provides evidence that while science is complicated, it is not magic. It is productive work. Scientific endeavors employ people. They use capital inputs. Related economic activity occurs immediately. Policy makers need to have an understanding of how science is produced when making resource allocation decisions, and this study provides that information in a reliable and current fashion.”

Thanks to the Committee on Institutional Cooperation for contributing this story.

Guess Who Else Will be Hurt by Sequestration?

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 11-19-2013

Elliott Negin, Director of News and Commentary for the Union of Concerned Scientists, recently wrote an article in the Huffinton Post warning of the dire financial impact that the recent government shutdown and almost-year-long sequester will have on industry and the private sector.

On many occasions we have discussed how recent government actions are harming academic science in the United States, but we have never discussed what consequences it may have on industry. In general, when one thinks about government funding, university labs and research institutes come to mind. That certainly makes sense as thoughts of the NIH shuttering their doors for several weeks is still fresh in our minds. However, as Negin writes, research and discovery in academia and government laboratories are often the catalyst for industry and commercialization. Take away government research and you will definitely harm the downstream commercial environment.

As Negin writes:

The sequester, and inconsistent funding by a fickle Congress is taking its toll on the public scientific enterprise


What are your thoughts on this connection? Do you believe that poor government policy will have a significant impact on the commercial sector?

To read Negin’s commentary visit Don’t take federal science for granted.