I’ve previously written about how the US Government’s funding priorities are out of whack. Today former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich wrote an opinion piece in the New York Times arguing that congress should double the National Institute of Health’s budget because we desperately need more science research! His article is a breath of fresh air, and sets a good example of how science and research funding shouldn’t be a partisan issue. He makes this point by bringing attention to the fact that the science boom of the 90’s occurred due to a bill passed by the Republican congress and Democratic President. He writes:
Amid the policy fights that followed the Republican victories of 1994, President Bill Clinton and the new majorities in Congress reached one particularly good deal: doubling the budget for the National Institutes of Health.
Gingrich also does a good job of making clear why the current funding status is causing such a strain among research scientists.
The N.I.H. budget (about $30 billion last year) has effectively been reduced by more than 20 percent since then. As 92 percent of the N.I.H. budget goes directly to research, one result is that the institutes awarded 12.5 percent fewer grants last year than in 2003. Grant applications, over the same period, increased by almost 50 percent.
He goes on to make a great case for why we should make science research a funding priority whether you are conservative or liberal. I encourage you to go read it!