Dickensian budgeting threatens U.S. competitiveness

09/25/2013 | National Institutes of Health

Technological advances and unprecedented scientific opportunities set the stage for rapid progress in preventing, diagnosing and curing myriad human diseases, but ill-considered budget cuts threaten the NIH's ability to support vital research at more than 2,500 universities and organizations across the nation, write NIH Director Francis Collins and Deputy Director for Extramural Research Sally Rockey. A decade of flat budgets followed by sequestration have left the NIH with about 75% of the purchasing power it had a decade ago, while other nations are significantly boosting their research budgets. "If sequestration continues for a full 10 years ... our nation will lose an untold amount of precious time in its race against Alzheimer's disease, cancer, arthritis, asthma, autism, depression, diabetes, heart disease, HIV/AIDS, influenza, and so many other causes of pain and suffering," Collins and Rockey write.

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