In a meeting with Trump administration officials, biotech and academic leaders argued for funding the US National Institutes of Health, ScienceInsider reports.
The meeting comes on the heels of the Trump administration suggesting a 20 percent cut to the NIH budget for fiscal year 2018 and Congress rejecting that call, as it gave the agency a $2 billion increase for the current fiscal year.
More than two dozen people, including NIH Director Francis Collins, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, and the Acting Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, Stephen Ostroff, attended the meeting with White House officials, which included Ivanka Trump, according to ScienceInsider. It adds that Stanford University's president, the CEO of the Mayo Clinic, and the CEO of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, among others, spoke to the assembled group.
ScienceInsider reports that the biotech executives explained why private investment can't replace public funding of biomedical research, while academic and NIH representatives noted the low grant approval rate faced by investigators, particularly early-career scientists. The group also aired its concerns on how the administration's immigration policies are affecting the recruitment of talent from abroad.
"The message in the room was loud and clear: We need the NIH! And we need it now more than ever," writes Cori Bargmann, president of science for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, in a post at Facebook.