Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the former director of the International Human Genome Project, was the featured guest at a dinner meeting. Dr. Collins discussed with President Rubenstein the damage lack of federal funding for NIH is doing to scientific research in America.
He said NIH provides more than $30 billion in funding to 300,000 scientists, an amount that has not changed significantly since 2003. According to Dr. Collins, this represents an almost 20 percent decrease in funding available for research. This lack of financial support, Dr. Collins said, is hampering much needed breakthroughs in medical research and driving some scientific researchers out of the field and/or causing them to leave the United States for countries with better financial support for health care research. “The consequences of that for losses in terms of human health advances, loss to our economy, and damage to our generation of young scientists is so hard to look at,” he said, adding, “It is so frustrating that we have in this town this kind of gridlock with all of this unfortunate hammering of innocent bystanders – the medical research community – to the detriment of our own country.”
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