Research is the lifeblood of technological innovation, which drives economic growth and keeps America competitive. Government-funded scientific research runs the gamut from studies of basic physical and biological processes to the development of applications to meet immediate needs. Unfortunately, the definition of what constitutes “science” has gradually expanded to include sociology, economics and woo-woo “alternative medicine.” Much of the spending on these disciplines by the nation’s two major funders of nonmilitary research, the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, is systematically shortchanging taxpayers.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has projected that China will overtake the U.S. in research and development spending by around 2019. If the U.S. is to remain competitive in medical and scientific innovation we must increase overall spending—and also be more discerning about the nation’s research priorities. A good first step would be for the scientific community to demand that politicians forego political correctness and prioritize funding for research that is in America’s best interest.
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