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Research leaders, organizations urge Senate Appropriations Committee to close the "Innovation Deficit"

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Holly Korschun

Leaders of the nation's major research agencies will jointly testify April 29th at the Senate Appropriations Committee hearing in Washington on the need for federal research investments to drive innovation and economic growth.

In support of that hearing, a group of 50 leading business, higher education, scientific and patient organizations offered written testimony to the committee urging them to make strong, sustained investments in research in order to close the "innovation deficit."

The coalition noted that lagging U.S. investments in research and higher education combined with the significant increase in such investment by other nations has created an innovation deficit, threatening the nation's international competitiveness.

"As the global innovation leader, we produce more discoveries and patents, and more technological and health advances, than any other nation," the organizations wrote. "Economists have made very clear that these science- and engineering-driven advances have fueled most of our nation's economic growth in the decades since World War II. Yet today, our leadership faces a serious challenge from other nations that are rapidly increasing their investments in these critical areas while our own spending lags."

Close the Innovation Deficit

Close the Innovation Deficit:

"Long-term reductions in federal research funding, including sequestration, will have very serious long-term consequences for our national productivity and competitiveness as well as the lives of our patients," says David S. Stephens, MD, vice president for research in Emory's Woodruff Health Sciences Center and chair of the Department of Medicine in Emory University School of Medicine.

"Innovation in our laboratories has saved and improved countless lives as well as led to academic-industry partnerships, commercialized products and economic development. These opportunities and outcomes will slow considerably and we will lose significant momentum if strong federal levels of research funding are not sustained."

The witnesses at today's hearing will be: John P. Holdren, director, Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), Executive Office of the President of the United States; Ernest Moniz, secretary, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE); Francis S. Collins, director, National Institutes of Health (NIH); France A. Córdova, director, National Science Foundation (NSF); and Arati Prabhakar, director, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Department of Defense (DARPA).

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