Monday, July 21, 2008

Great article on NIH budget debate

The following article appeared on the Web site of Inside Higher Ed. I thought it was a great article, and the comments (even the ones I didn't agree with) were at least engaging at the end. Obviously, I'm all for funding NIH because my life depends on their research. But, besides that, in the midst of our current economic situation (and if you don't think it's bad you're head has been buried in the sand too long) the one thing we can do to ensure our future is to fund the one thing no one can outsource or take away from us - our country's brain power and knack for innovation. If we invest in science, we're going to have advances that will help us stay healthy as a nation. Sure, eventually those discoveries will be copied, but in the meantime, we'll be leading the way. I'd rather be the copied than the copier - you can't charge royalties etc. in the second case.

Anyway, here's the article. You'll have to click through to the Web site to read the whole thing - please do as some of the best points are towards the bottom.

Possible Transfusion for NIH

With his head still balding from 12 recent cycles of chemotherapy, Sen. Arlen Specter touted a new effort Wednesday to bolster medical research funding by $5.2 billion, $1.2 billion of which would be specifically aimed at unlocking the mysteries of cancer.

Specter (R-Pa.) unveiled the plan alongside Sen. Tom Harkin, an Iowa Democrat, who is co-sponsoring the legislation to boost funding for the National Institutes of Health.

Specter learned in April that he has had a recurrence of Hodgkin’s disease, a cancer for which he was previously treated in 2005. Speaking of the pending legislation during a Senate subcommittee meeting, Specter spoke of his personal struggles with disease, adding that the United States had done little to end the “war on cancer” that President Richard Nixon declared more than 30 years ago.

“If that war had been pursued with the intensity of other wars, I wouldn’t have gotten Hodgkin’s,” he said.

Specter and Harkin’s proposed legislation would add supplemental funding to the 2008 budget for the NIH, which is the primary source of federal money for university biomedical research. This money would come on top of the $29.38 billion already appropriated to the NIH this year.

The new funding would keep the NIH budget on pace with inflation, something that hasn’t happened in the last five years, according to
news releases issued by both senators.
To read more go to: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2008/07/17/nih

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