Support Biomedical Research in the Economic Stimulus Package

Reading time: 3 – 5 minutes

This week, Congress is working to reconcile biomedical research funding differences in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. According to ProPublica, the Senate bill would spend substantially more on biomedical research than the House bill (10 billion vs. 900 million USD).

It is imperative that you urge your congressional members to support biomedical research as a critical driver of our economy. Here’s why: the biotechnology industry is a major driver of the U.S. economy and has been for the past 30 years [1]. Federal granting agencies have “shovel-ready” projects that will promote economic growth today — those research projects will help fight disease and improve the quality of life for everyone in America tomorrow.

biomedical-researchAs a result of increased funding, granting agencies will lower award score thresholds and money will begin flowing to research programs, literally within months. Many of the projects have already been reviewed and are simply waiting on funding. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) funds research at hospitals, medical centers and universities in all 50 states. Expanded research programs will create thousands of high-quality jobs and increase purchasing from largely American supply companies throughout the country.

It is truly an investment in the future of America’s health.

In an opinion article published at the on Sunday, actor and pancreatic cancer patient Patrick Swayze cites several additional benefits to investing in biomedical research [2]:

  • Every dollar in federal research spending generates about $2.20 in total economic activity in communities that host funded projects [3]. Thus, an estimated $22 billion would be generated from the Senate measure.
  • Reducing cancer deaths by just 1 percent would provide a $500 billion benefit to the economy in productivity gains and lower healthcare costs [4].

I often write about the stagnation in U.S. biomedical research funding and the fiscal pressures these programs face in the current funding environment. As America looks to jump-start job creation and long-term economic growth, an investment in biomedical research will provide economic benefits at the local level today where it is needed. Such investment will pay off in the long term with biomedical advances that will benefit everyone. Indeed, to rebuild America, President Obama has called for an investment in science and research [5]:

And it means investing in the science, research, and technology that will lead to new medical breakthroughs, new discoveries, and entire new industries.

Research!America is pushing for $10 billion to be included in the recovery plan. The organization makes it quick and easy to contact your congressional members and urge them to support investing in the NIH and increased funding of biomedical research.

Please take a moment to email your congressional members and urge them to support biomedical research in the economic stimulus package.


  1. The Role of Biomedical Research in the Economic Stimulus. Statement of Raynard S. Kington, M.D., Ph.D. Acting Director, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 2008 Nov 13.
  2. Patrick Swayze. I’m Battling Cancer. How About Some Help, Congress? The Washington Post. 2009 Feb 8.
  3. In Your Own Backyard: How NIH Funding Helps Your State’s Economy. Families USA. 2008 June.
  4. Murphy KM and Topel RH. The Value of Health and Longevity. Journal of Political Economy. 114(5):871-904, 2006 Oct.
  5. President Barack Obama. Speech on the economy from George Mason University, Washington D.C. 2009 Jan 8.
About the Author

Walter Jessen, Ph.D. is a Data Scientist, Digital Biologist, and Knowledge Engineer. His primary focus is to build and support expert systems, including AI (artificial intelligence) and user-generated platforms, and to identify and develop methods to capture, organize, integrate, and make accessible company knowledge. His research interests include disease biology modeling and biomarker identification. He is also a Principal at Highlight Health Media, which publishes Highlight HEALTH, and lead writer at Highlight HEALTH.