Senator Murray and NIH Director Collins Discuss Importance of Investing in Health Research and Innovation in Seattle.
Aug 13 2014
Yesterday, Senator Murray visited the University of Washington’s South Lake Campus with Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health to discuss the importance of continued investment in biomedical research and innovation to continue global leadership in the field, improve public health, and ensure that the U.S. workforce in the field grows. Murray and Director Collins toured the university’s medical research labs to see some of the work being done with federal research investments, and met with local leaders in global health and biomedical research to discuss healthcare innovation moving forward.
Murray kicked off a discussion of private and public partners by describing the impact investments in medical research and innovation have on the world’s health, and U.S. jobs, economy, and global competitiveness. Murray highlighted the consequences of cuts to funding to research and innovation investments, and called for addressing deficits in those areas in addition to addressing long-term budget challenges. Murray focused the discussion on changing the thinking behind funding of innovation and research in the U.S., in order to sustain and grow in the future.
In April, Murray discussed the importance of investments in research and development with national experts in the Senate, and also held a Budget Committee hearing last year to examine the Impact of Federal Investments on People, Communities, and Long-Term Economic Growth.
Read more about the biotechnology and medical research center at the University of Washington’s South Lake campus here.
Key excerpts from Senator Murray’s Remarks:
“Washington is home to more than 1300 bioscience companies, and they work closely with private sector investors and the NIH to great effect. In other words, Washington state knows how to prioritize research. And it pays off. Research and development spending contributes billions to our state’s economic growth and supports thousands of jobs. And each year, our great universities and medical centers prepare a new generation of scientists and researchers who give back to our state and our country. It’s very clear that investments in the NIH, and in research and science generally, have huge benefits for families, communities, and our economy.”
“…Unfortunately—as you all know—over the last few years fiscal battles in Washington, D.C. have resulted in deep cuts and a lot of uncertainty around funding for the NIH, as well as other investments in research and innovation. Our federal investment in research and development slowed, even as other countries ramped up their investments.”
“We’re already seeing the consequences, with companies shutting down plants—even here in Washington—and in some cases, moving overseas for a better business climate. Look—if the U.S. was a business, investments in future economic growth would be the last thing we would try to cut. That is exactly what research and development is. And I am determined to make sure that we keep up with our global competitors.”
“While I am very aware of our long-term budget deficits, I am just as aware of the deficits we are racking up in critical areas like research and innovation. These will only grow worse over time, and they will make the United States less competitive if they go unaddressed. “
“I also believe strongly that it’s time to reevaluate our approach to federal research funding. We need to find a responsible, sustainable approach that accounts for inflation and growth. And, we need to change how we talk about research—this isn’t just another line-item on the balance sheet that is ripe for cutting. It is a long term investment that pays off in global competitiveness, jobs, growth, and wellbeing for families and communities across the country.“UW Medicine Visit 8.12.14