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White paper supports sustained federal research funding
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WASHINGTON, DC June 25, 2007 - The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) leadership today praised a white paper endorsing sustained federal biomedical research funding released this week by the Center for Health Transformation (CHT).


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"This document presents powerful new arguments that we hope will resonate with policymakers within the Administration and on Capitol Hill, and result in increased budgets for agencies such as the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation," said SfN President David Van Essen. The white paper was produced by CHT, which was founded by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and is dedicated to the creation of a 21st century intelligent health system that saves lives and saves money. SfN joined CHT in 2006 because of the shared commitment to achieving a sustained and stable increase in federal funding for biomedical research.

The doubling of the NIH budget between 1998 and 2003 produced major advances in the nation's health due to greater understanding of disease mechanisms and the emergence of new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches for many disorders, the white paper notes. In contrast, flat funding for the NIH since 2004 has slowed the pace of progress in biomedical research. The paper emphasizes that:

  • Federal policymakers should view investment in biomedical research as an opportunity to deliver longer and more productive lives to Americans, and should not regard it as just a fiscal obligation or cost.
  • The "start-stop" funding approach in recent years has hindered efficient research planning and slowed the rate of progress.
  • Surveys indicate that Americans recognize that the benefits of biomedical research greatly exceed the amount the Federal Government invests to support this work.
  • Investments in basic biomedical research also benefit the nation by stimulating the biotech industry, a dynamic and very important component of the economy.

The paper concludes: "Steadily growing investments in biomedical research are vital. To ensure the continued innovation that will safeguard, enhance, and extend the lives of Americans, the federal government should recommit to increasing the NIH budget at a steady, predictable pace that significantly outpaces the rate of biomedical inflation."

The white paper's arguments are in line with SfN's recent efforts to create a more favorable environment in Washington for increased funding. These efforts include actively encouraging biomedical industry business leaders to take the lead in advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill and within the Administration; educating key members of Congress in both parties whose vote could make a difference for federal support of biomedical research; and continuing to visit elected officials on a regular basis.

The Society for Neuroscience, with more than 36,500 members, is the world's largest organization of basic scientists and clinicians who study the brain and nervous system.


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