New Report on US Research Investment: “The Future Postponed 2.0”

In an op-ed published in the Hill newspaper, the CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the chair of the National Science Board announced the release of a new report on the impacts of inadequate funding for scientific research in the United States. The report, titled “The Future Postponed 2.0: Why Declining Investment in Basic Research Threatens a U.S. Innovation Deficit,” is the follow-on of a report released in April of 2015 on the same topic. The report makes the case that not committing enough funding to scientific research will mean breakthroughs in the sciences will happen outside the United States, and those countries will reap the benefits.

The report makes its argument using a number of case studies of promising early-stage research. Here are just a few examples cited:

  • Creating a Census of Human Cells – “New techniques make possible a systematic description of the myriad types of cells in the human body that underlie both health and disease;”
  • The Origin Of The Universe – “Measuring tiny variations in the cosmic microwave background will enable major discoveries about the origin of the universe, including details of its early expansion and of physical phenomena at energies a trillion times greater than those of the largest earthbound accelerators;”
  • Unleashing The Power Of Synthetic Proteins – “Potential breakthroughs in medicine, energy, and technology;”

As federal research agencies, and by extension the scientific research community, continue to be impacted by the ongoing budget impasse in Congress, it’s well worth reminding both Congressional leaders, and the public at large, that scientific funding has helped the country tremendously since the end of World War II (a point also made in the above op-ed and report). This report will be an excellent new tool for the research community to further its message.