At Public Works we’re grateful for, though dismayed by, any news coverage that brings attention to the ongoing erosion of public funding for science and research. (We’re written before about the impacts of sequestration on research and how risk-taking research is fundamentally a public phenomenon.) Just when we thought it wasn’t possible to cut funding any further, we noticed this recent news story from The Huffington Post on the latest round of federal budget cuts. According to one official interviewed, the NIH budget cuts alone mean that “hundreds of potentially lifesaving research grants (will go) unfunded.”
Research for the common good has contributed to an astounding number of past scientific and technological advancements that have dramatically improved quality of life for Americans – think google, and iPhone. This is one of the least told, but most impactful, stories of the effects of several decades of shrinking resources for the public sector. Making the case for this type of investment by connecting the dots between Americans’ quality of life and publicly funded research and innovation can help to rebuild support for government. If it also stems or reverses funding cuts that’s good too.