Revitalize Federal Support for Science and Technology: A Letter to the Candidates in the 2016 Presidential Election

Sign here if you're a graduate student, postdoc, researcher, or professor in any field and are affiliated with a university, government research facility, or non-profit lab in the United States. Everyone else, please spread the word among your academic colleagues!

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As academics working across the United States, we urge you to make increased federal funding of scientific and technological research a public priority in your 2016 campaign platform.

From the pursuit of Alzheimer disease’s root causes to advances in the development of sustainable energy sources, we and our colleagues work industriously on projects that benefit society and expand our understanding of the universe. Our work depends on federal appropriations to organizations like the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Department of Energy (DOE), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The long-term successes of scientific and applied research require federal funding to be sustained, a necessary component of the United States’ position at the forefront of scientific and technological development—allowing us to reach steadfast into the unknown.

Critical research is performed under the continual threat of inadequate funding or, worse yet, terminated funding. After decades of strong growth (by nearly 40% adjusted for inflation) extending back into the second Reagan administration, federal funding of non-defense research has now been stagnant for a decade, and today lies below its 2004 level. To stimulate the local and national economy, mitigate climate change, cope with deadly diseases, train the next generation of researchers, and make discoveries we cannot yet fathom, we ask you to revitalize federal support for research.

A robust federal investment in research pays for itself many times over in job creation and economic growth. It is critical you support this endeavor, advancing not only the economy but also the quality of all our lives.