Tag Archives: R&D

A Weekly Advocacy Message from Mary Woolley: Dying to know more…

Dear Research Advocate,

The first presidential debate gave us little to go on regarding research for health. Americans are dying to know more – many, quite literally dying – about what either presidential candidate would do to speed up medical progress in the face of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, ALS and the host of other disabling and deadly health threats that breed suffering, compromise independence and drive spiraling health care costs. Add to that the pivotal role medical innovation plays in our economy, and Americans absolutely deserve to know whether candidates will champion or shortchange it. All of us must say to candidates: Tell us what you will do, share your views – candidates for president and Congress alike. Take 30 seconds to ask your candidates to speak out and then help more by sharing this alert.

Another issue that the candidates failed to adequately address in last night’s debate was sequestration, and that’s why we must continue to speak up. If more of us get involved we can shift the halt-the-sequester momentum into high gear – check out the following articles and then write your own op-ed: Athens (GA) Banner-HeraldMontgomery Advertiser. The Los Angeles Times highlighted a new AAAS report on the impact of sequestration (read here). The report provides estimates of just how much states stand to lose under sequestration, with California alone being deprived of over $11 billion in R&D funding over a 5-year period! How much does your state stand to lose? Find out via FASEB’s outstanding series of new fact sheets that illustrate the importance and impact of NIH funding close to home. Take a moment to find the fact sheet for your state or district and use this information in your advocacy efforts.

For years, our public polling has shown that Americans strongly support incentives for companies that are investing in R&D – investments that create jobs and foster innovation. An article recently published in The Atlantic drives this point home, calling on policy makers to not only expand the R&D tax credit but to make it permanent. This is a common-sense policy solution that would enhance our competitiveness at a time when other nations are boosting investment in research and creating new incentives to encourage the private sector to invest. We need to step up, or we will be left behind.

And, speaking of the global nature of science as well as economic interdependence, we are eager to hear the announcements of the Nobel Prizes, starting this coming Monday. Here’s a suggestion: Take the opportunity of the announcements to make a phone call, send an email or write a letter to the editor to call attention to the importance of maintaining strong support of science in this country. Doing so could prove critical in reversing the perception among Capitol Hill staffers that few members of the science community are engaged in the public policy conversation – volume matters and that means every one of us needs to step up.

Sincerely,

Mary Woolley

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A Weekly Advocacy Message from Mary Woolley: Sequencing, Sequestration and Sputnik

Dear Research Advocate,

What do sequencing and sequestration have in common, besides being mysterious words to most people? It’s pretty simple: We won’t have more of the former if the latter takes place. Why isn’t it a Sputnik moment to learn that there is more sequencing capacity at Beijing Genome Institute than we have total capacity in our country? And, to learn that the Chinese government is subsidizing the cost of sequencing so that it is fast becoming the go-to place for industry and academia worldwide? It’s time for advocates to talk this up so that policy makers will once again plus-up research as a U.S. priority.

Jeffrey Zients, the Acting Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, is among those (few, to date) talking about the damaging consequences of sequestration. His op-ed in Politico calls on Congress to stop sequestration’s automatic spending cuts – never really meant to happen but now a very real possibility – pointing out what is at stake: “Research and development, critical to our long-term economic growth, would also be undermined …” The day after this article hit the papers, The Boston Globe published a piece detailing the potential impact of the sequester on health research, citing Research!America’s report on the topic. You, too, can and should spread the alarm about sequestration before the unintended scenario becomes the reality that some have estimated will result in a 41% decline in NIH purchasing power since 2004 – and will continue to drive industry to shutter R&D in this country, with losses for jobs, new business development and, ultimately, losses for patients.

Sometimes critics of research expenditures – whether taxpayers and their representatives or business investors – criticize the time lag before research pays off. There are plenty of ways to push back on that skepticism, including exciting advances covered in front-page stories this week, all authored by Gina Kolata of The New York Times. Today’s article featured groundbreaking Alzheimer’s research from Research!America member Genentech and other collaborators, which may finally hold the key to developing an effective course of treatment to stave off the disease. A series of Kolata articles earlier in the week showcases exciting and life-saving cancer advances at Washington University and other institutions. The reason these articles are front-page news is that research breakthroughs resonate with Americans. You can make the link about the payoff of investment in research when you engage in conversation about these and other health advances in the news.

Also making headlines was a USA Today feature on Ann Romney’s battle with multiple sclerosis and how the struggle has shaped her life. My letter to the editor calls for increasing investment in research and asks candidates to let their views be known on research issues. This is the perfect time to join us in urging the Romney campaign to respond to our Your Candidates – Your Health questionnaire on medical research issues.

Finally, may I ask for three minutes of your time? This is the 53rd of my weekly letters, which means we’ve just passed the one-year mark! Please take a few moments to complete a short questionnaire to help me make these all the more useful to you in the year ahead. Thanks in advance for your feedback.

Sincerely,

Mary Woolley