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State of the Union speech: Promising outlook for research and innovation

(Washington, January, 25, 2012) -- Research!America's Board chair, former Congressman John Edward Porter (R-IL), applauds President Obama's commitment to protect our nation's investment in basic research.

"America's leadership is at stake as other nations accelerate and prioritize their investments in discovery and development," said Porter. "We could potentially witness a reversal in fortune as Asia and Europe integrate science and technology into economic growth while U.S. investments in R&D decline. In China alone, R&D growth increased a remarkable 28% in a single year, placing it second behind the U.S. We must acknowledge and reverse trends that could jeopardize our world-class standing. Unfortunately, many elected officials have taken research and innovation for granted. They must realize that second-tier status will yield second-tier results in both scientific and economic output."

The president's charge to train more Americans in science and technology to reduce unemployment and strengthen our global competitiveness has the support of many Americans. Research!America polls show nearly 90% of those surveyed believe the federal government should place more emphasis on increasing the number of young Americans who pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math. "We must prepare the next generation of innovators for opportunities that have yet to be tapped," Porter adds.

Research!America President and CEO Mary Woolley commends the president's goal to spur innovation with basic research. However, funding is at risk with the prospect of automatic spending cuts for government agencies in 2013. Woolley urges Congress to spare federal health agencies from significant cuts that could impede scientific progress.

"Cutting funding for research is not a deficit reduction strategy," said Woolley. "Research fuels economic growth and improves the quality of life for millions of Americans. President Obama's support for basic research reflects the views of a majority of Americans who have stated in recent polls that accelerating investment in health research must be a high priority. It's time for elected officials and candidates to elevate the importance of research in the national conversation and embrace it as a solution to maintaining our competitive edge, revitalizing the economy and transcending barriers in science and innovation."


Contact: Suzanne Ffolkes

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