We are a science advocacy and education group, so as Science ACEs, we try not to take sides in politics. We work to give you the facts so that you can make your own informed decision. However, this ASAP Science video about “The War on Science” struck a chord for us, and we want to share with you why.
On top of sharing our love of science with you, we are all actively involved in research. We work in labs on issues including cancer, obesity, and viral and bacterial infections, performing research which could have positive impacts on our lives. We see first-hand the state of science on a daily basis. Today, we are talking about something that we do not see often in the media: research funding. Some of your tax money helps fund major discoveries such as understanding how genes make us fat or water on mars. But we have a major problem: Science everywhere is hurting.
Federal research funding is being cut at every turn, even as the costs to do research are increasing. In 2014, only 19% of the over 27,000 research grant proposals submitted to the National Institute of Health were funded, down from 32% in 2001. These federal grants are one of the largest funding sources for research in the United States. For us, this means the research money we do have is tight, and the path to future funding looks bleak. It makes us uncertain of not only our own future, but that of our research. Some have seen labs completely shut down due to loss of funding even though they were run by scientists doing incredible research. We are scared.
What does this mean for you? Fewer new discoveries to help us fight cancer, the obesity epidemic, or the next Ebola. Cuts to NASA mean we may never make it to Mars. We love science, and we love that what we do helps people, but if funding cuts continue, we are fearful for what will happen. You have a huge potential to make a powerful difference by voting. As scientists, we urge you to think about science when you vote at local, county, state and the national levels. Please help us help science.