The United States may be losing ground as the leader in biomedical research and within the next five years will be second to China in the funds it spends for R&D, according to Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D, director of the National Institutes of Health.
Collins, speaking at a Festival of Science at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, said research funding flattened out in 2003. With Congress unable to settle on a budget for the past three years--and with sequestration of funding potentially doubling next year--the US, once the unchallenged leader in research, is losing ground while several other countries are increasing their R&D spending.
"All of us are hopeful that the panel led by [Senators] Patty Murray and Paul Ryan will come up with a compromise that will let at least the sequester go away," he said.
Collins was the keynote speaker at a conference that kicked off University of Maryland School of Medicine's Accelerating Innovation and Discovery in Medicine (ACCEL-Med) program in which the medical school asked a panel of world-famous scientists to act as advisors and consultants on where the School's research efforts should be.
The five advisors included Nobel laureate Carol Greider of Johns Hopkins Medical Institution; Rita Caldwell of the University of Maryland at College Park; Philip Needleman, former president of the St. Louis Science Center;, Ralph Snyderman, chancellor emeritus at Duke University; and Elias Zerhouni, president of global R&D at Sanofi Pharmaceutical and Collins' predecessor at NIH.
Three groups of medical school researchers presented what their departments were working on, and the panel, sitting on tables to the side, made initial comments on the presentations. The presenters came from the Institute for Genomic Sciences, the department of pharmacology and the department of surgery.
Collins emphasized the economic benefits of the research as well as medical impact on human health,
|Contact: Christopher Hardwick|
University of Maryland School of Medicine