University Research Funding & Federal Sequestration, The State of Laboratory Research Today – Part 3
Part 3: University Research Funding & Federal Sequestration
How will the future funding of scientific research be resolved?
The future funding of scientific research will involve discussions between Congress, all institutions involved in research, the business sector and the general public. A dialog is necessary to determine how to best allocate our resources to insure economic vitality and continued funding of basic research so that we are competitive in a global market. Just over half of our R&D budget is allocated to defense spending. Can further cuts to the military budget without compromising national security be an additional source of funding? Are scientific validated alternatives using non-animal methods or less developed animal species more cost effective, faster and more relevant to the human population? Experimental methods such as Epidemiological studies, in vitro research and human cell and tissue cultures, clinical, autopsy and post mortem studies, mathematical models and computer simulation, computerized patient-drug data bases and post marketing surveillance, non-invasive imaging techniques, chromatography and spectroscopy? Can laboratory testing be accomplished by investing in less expensive, warranted remanufactured laboratory equipment that costs from one fourth to one half the price of new? Should new equipment be ordered only if it provides the researcher with an invaluable, innovative method for investigation and superior test results?
Lastly, are we running the risk of losing our funnel of future scientists with severe cuts to the research budget? Will both our seasoned and young scientist and entrepreneurs seek positions in research, education and business outside the US? Will budding international scientists decide to stay in their own country or reside in other competing nations? Will great research ideas be lost forever?
One thing is for sure disease knows no boundaries and as such we need to insure that viable research projects continue to be supported and guided toward the development of medicines that enhance lives, save lives and comfort the terminally ill.
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