Dear Research Advocate:
The Bureau of Economic Analysis has reclassified research and development costs from an “expense” to an “investment” when calculating GDP. We think Members of Congress should do the same. Common sense tells us R&D is an investment, not an expense; in general conversation we all talk about R&D as an investment, but it isn’t accounted for that way on the federal books. The arguments we’ve been making are now further bolstered by the BEA’s decision. Spread the word!
One hundred and sixty five university presidents and chancellors, representing all 50 states, have called on the president and Congress to reverse the pending “innovation deficit” in an open letter published last week in Politico before the August recess. With more than half of the economic growth in the U.S. since WWII attributable to innovation — largely due to the nation’s commitment to higher education and federally supported research — our society and our economy are at risk if we continue on today’s trajectory.
These are arguments to use as we work to keep research and innovation in the conversation during the August recess. We have launched a reprise of our social media campaign using the hashtag #curesnotcuts. Please take part, so that policy makers, at home in their districts this month, get the message loud and clear that Americans want medical research to be protected from indiscriminate cuts; so they hear that research and innovation require committed, robust investment. Earlier this week, I was on “Radio Smart Talk” on WITF-FM, a Pennsylvania NPR affiliate. During that show I spoke about the damaging effect of the sequester and fielded questions from listeners. When making your case, you might find it useful to pull from those radio soundbites or from the points we contributed to an editorial that appeared in the The (Newark, NJ) Star-Ledger.
Kudos to the Society for Neuroscience’s “Take the Hill Home” campaign. Through targeted and consistent messaging, SfN has launched a month of advocacy in August, including messages to be sent directly to congressional offices, social media pushes and more. Check out all the details. The Parkinson’s Action Network is running an aggressive campaign this recess as well. PAN has compiled terrific resources to assist with scheduling meetings with Members or their staffs, sending messages through social media, sending a letter to the editor, attending town hall meetings, and inviting Members of Congress to your own events.
Looking ahead to September, seats are filling up for our “Straight Talk”-themed National Health Research Forum! We will be joined by agency heads from NIH, FDA and CDC, as well as the head of the Innovation Center at CMS and leaders from the corporate, academic and patient advocacy sectors. This event, coming as Congress heads into the last legislative days before the end of the fiscal year, is not to be missed!