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Innovation’s Funding Crunch

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On Tuesday, in a U.S. Senate appropriations hearing, Francis S. Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, reviewed the results of a survey of 11,000 researchers at the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundations.   The survey found that 75 percent of these researchers reduced their recruiting of grad students and research fellows because of economic pressures.

Does money drive innovation or just keep the engine running?

According to Collins, “The worst thing you can do for biomedical research or any research is this feast or famine where you rev up the engine and then you take away the fuel.”  Must of the countries basic research & development is funded by the U.S. government through research grants.  Where does the U.S. rank compared to other countries?

According to the data in the chart above, China is increasing their investments in biomedical research by about 30 percent per year.

Listed in a recent Washington Post article, are five reasons to worry about U.S. innovation.  They include:

  1. Scientists are feeling a funding crunch.
  2. The funding roller-coaster undermines scientists.
  3. Cuts in discretionary spending will trickle down to scientific research and innovation.
  4. China is catching up to us.
  5. We’re not keeping talent here.

What do you think?  Is U.S. innovation being compromised due to the lack of available government funding?  Tell us what you think.