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Federal Funds Boost Science, FASEB Argues

The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, the advocacy group that has been working hard to press the US Congress to maintain funding at the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation, has issued a new fact-sheet to highlight its case that federally funded support biomedical research is necessary.

Improved health, new technology innovations and industries, and a stronger economy are among the benefits that spring from federally funded science, and in particular from the kinds of basic research that the private sector depends on but is unlikely to conduct on its own, FASEB says.

Because of the uncertain and risky nature of basic research, FASEB says, and because the time-frame for basic science projects can, in some cases, be measured in decades, the private sector is far less likely to take the risk of long-term science efforts like the Human Genome Project.

NIH and NSF also are the foundations of US science culture, FASEB argues. They support the training of new generations of researchers, fund the awards that graduate students and postdocs use to start their careers, and enable investigators to pursue high-risk, high-reward projects.