A Message from AAAS CEO Alan I. Leshner

The looming sequestration would slash federal investment in research and development by an estimated $57 billion between now and 2017. That is not good for science, but it is also bad for an economy whose growth is driven by advances in science and technology.

Today, AAAS is asking for your help in urging federal policymakers to protect R&D funding from these potentially devastating cuts. Please take a moment to make a submission highlighting the importance of federal funding to your work and what would be lost if our leaders do not reach a bipartisan resolution to the budget impasse.

We will then take your message to Capitol Hill and the White House to ensure our community is heard from on this critical issue. We will also work to amplify your voice by attracting as much press and public interest as possible.

With your help we can make sure that the scientific community’s voice is heard in the ongoing budget negotiations. Join us. Together we can make a difference.

AAAS CEO Alan I. Leshner

AAAS CEO Alan I. Leshner

Featured Submissions

A Chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Thomas Jefferson University I am keenly aware of the indisputable fact that Federal funding is the lifeblood of the biomedical research enterprise in this country. This funding has eroded significantly over the last few years, decreasing the productivity of this enterprise and destabilizing biomedical research institutions. Any further erosion, as for example would result from sequestration, would be devastating, forcing institutions to make draconian cuts to their research staffs and to eliminate the training and hiring of the next generation of research scientists. Under these conditions, the biomedical research enterprise in this country might well enter a "death spiral" from which no amount of future funding could save it. As a result, the "pipeline" of biomedical research discoveries that drives the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to the treatment of human disease would dry up. This would, undoubtedly, result in a reduced quality of life in this country, as well as a substantial increase in health care costs in the future. Moreover, with highly populated countries like China and India now investing heavily in biomedical research, the United States might soon be overtaken as the international leader in this area of research as well as healthcare innovation.

Timothy M.
November 5, 2012

My military research has been funded by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and deals with effectively measuring, selecting and classifying people based on their psychological characteristics (ability, motivation, personality, multitasking) to improve performance and reduce attrition. Without federal funding, the capabilities of the military at its most fundamental level -- its people -- are presumably eroded, with consequences that I don't need to enumerate to you. Your support for federally sponsored research is essential to the defense and long-term economic well being of our nation. It also supports my graduate students who themselves are developing their scientific careers in this area of expertise and importance. I appreciate your time in reading my comment.

F. Oswald
November 6, 2012

For two years, my company has worked with a first-tier University Medical School to develop a potentially breakthrough cancer treatment based on proven quantum chemistry. Our patents have been granted, the scientific and clinicians involved are all leaders in their respective fields, world famous in fact. Yet, as I've interacted with angel investment groups and venture capital companies in a search for additional funding, I've watched as Angel Networks and VC's invest in five times as many internet deals as they fund in biotechnology. Most private investment funds are agnostic as to to how they gain their ROI; the public good is a long forgotten consideration. Without government investments in biotechnology, life saving breakthroughs will be lost altogether -- left on the sidelines as investors run right by dedicated researchers to seek short term profits. Government support for research, business development and STEM education are critical to the long term public good for which investment across the scientific and engineering disciplines is essential.

Mark B.
November 6, 2012

I direct a research program with 20 NIH-funded laboratories that is one of the nation’s largest research programs in communication disorders and one of the few devoted to communication disorders in children. We have substantial hospital support as well, but the NIH support has set the tone for the program for the past 35 years. This program has contributed to the effort to screen for hearing loss at birth and has led to better diagnostic tools, hearing aids for the pediatric population, and better early intervention in many other ways. The basic science portion of the program is known for pioneering work on Usher syndrome, the primary cause of combined deafness and blindness in developed countries and for increased understanding of how the auditory system works at all levels.

Sequestration has already impacted our funding because NIH is reducing all awards until the outcome of the sequestration debate is clear. True sequestration would result in a significant reduction in our research program because labs with pending competitive renewal grant applications would have great difficulty with continued funding, new investigators would have great difficulty getting initial funding and those lucky enough to be in the earlier stages of a grant cycle would see substantial across the board cuts. We would lose 20% or more of our labs in the first year and there would be huge uncertainty about funding in future years.

Walt J.
November 6, 2012

We are doing work on infection control using biologicals rather than antibiotics and particularly applied to combat casualties. We have worked for the DoD and USAMRMC but our findings have broad application to civilian trauma victims as well. Our lab supports 2 Principal Investigators and 8 post-doctoral and undergraduate students. Without Federal Funding we will close in 1 year. We are making excellent progress but funding is becoming very difficult to obtain and the situation is looking increasingly bleak. It's truly a pity that the economic crisis can't be sorted out. America is rapidly losing it's edge.

James B.
November 6, 2012